ABUJA – The Senate has passed the N27,000 National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill through the crucial second reading.
The lawmakers passed the bill yesterday, during plenary following suspension of the Senate rules.
The bill was put through first and second reading simultaneously.
During the debate, the lawmakers supported the bill and were confident that it would improve the standard of living for workers in the country.
They called on state governments to look inwards on how to actualise the new minimum wage by cutting frivolous expenses and improving revenue generation.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary announced that, contrary to reports, the minimum wage proposal sent to the National Assembly was N27,000 for both Federal and state workers.
Senator Ekweremadu, however, faulted the part of the proposal which exempted organisations which employ less than 25 people from paying the new minimum wage.
He noted that the exemption would exclude many low-income earners who work in small organisations from benefitting from the new minimum wage.
“If this does not affect these people, it means a whole number of people are left outside the minimum wage and that is not right.
In most countries, the minimum wage applies to all workers, regardless of the number of people in an establishment”, the DSP further noted.
Sen. Ekweremadu was however, hopeful that the issue of those left out of the minimum wage would be addressed by an ad-hoc committee chaired by Sen. Olusola Adeyeye.
Others in the committee are senators Abu Ibrahim, Shehu Sani, Sam Egwu, Suleiman Adokwe, Francis Alimikhena, and Binta Garba.
The committee was asked to report to the Senate within two weeks.
Earlier, Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan moved for expeditious passage of the bill because of its importance.
He asked the Senate to suspend its rules and pass the bill through first and second reading immediately.
“Let me congratulate the Federal Government, the 36 states of Nigeria and stakeholders on this Bill for the increase of the minimum wage from N18,000 to N27,000.
Our Civil Servants will be excited about this. It may not be all they hoped, but it is still an improved situation. Nigeria cannot develop without the help of our civil servants”, the Senate Leader stressed.
The Senate agreed to his request and the minimum wage bill was debated in the chamber.