…Demands supplementary budget for implementation
Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Senate has aligned with the House of Representatives’ decision to pass N30, 000 as new minimum wage for the nation’s workforce.
This came eight weeks after the passage of the bill by the House of Representatives.
Resolutions of both chambers of the National Assembly differs from the N27,000 minimum wage recommended by the executive in a bill forwarded to that effect in January this year.
However, to make the payment realistic, the Red Chamber urged the Federal Government to forward to the parliament supplementary budget on personnel cost component of the 2019 budget for implementation of the approved N30, 000 new minimum wage.
This Senate as well called for immediate review of the present revenue sharing formula among the federal, state and local governments for effective implementation of the new minimum wage at the state and local government levels.
The revenue sharing formula as it is presently, gives the Federal Government 56% of whatever money to be shared from the consolidated revenue fund on monthly basis while the 36 states take 24% and the remaining 20% shared by the 774 local government councils.
Senate decision was sequel to report presented to that effect by the Deputy Whip of the Senate, Francis Alimikhena (APC Edo North).
Alimikhena in the presentation of the 18 – Clause report of the Ad- hoc committee, informed the Senate that N5, 000 fine stipulated in clause 3(1) of the bill against any employer who fails to keep records of employees was jerked up by the committee to N75,000 to ensure compliance.
Though Senator Tayo Alasoadura (APC Ondo Central), in his contribution on the bill, suggested that the fine should be further jerked up to N500,000 for strict compliance by all employers of labour, but the Senate at the committee of the whole adopted the N75,000 fine recommended by the Ad-hoc committee.
Earlier in their separate contributions, senators one after the other, concurred to the N30,000 minimum wage but insisted that the existing revenue sharing formula must be reviewed to enhance its implementation by the both the State and local government.
Senate Minority Leader, Abiodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South), said without review of the existing revenue sharing formula, states and local government may not have the required financial capacity to pay the new minimum wage.
“The essence of formulating any policy or passing a bill, is to see to its implementation for the required results.
If revenue sharing formula is not reviewed in a way that will make the states and local government to get more from the monthly allocations, implementing the new minimum wage may be difficult for them”, she said.
Senator Barnabas Gemade (SDP Benue North East), said though a review of the existing revenue sharing formula was long overdue but even without that, no state can claim not to have the financial capacity of paying the N30, 000 new minimum wage.
He said: “Going by the volume of money or enormous amount spent by the various state governors to buy votes in the just concluded general elections, no state can claim not to have the financial wherewithal to pay the new minimum wage.
“If a state through its governor has billions of Naira to buy votes, the same state should through the same governor, pay the newly passed N30, 000 minimum wage to her workers”.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said with the passage of the new minimum wage, industrial harmony and improved national productivity will be achieved.