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REPS BACK CALLS FOR REVIEW OF REVENUE FORMULA TO PAY NEW MINIMUM WAGE

By NBF News
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• Omar, NLC President
Amendments of a motion on the impending strike by the organised labour over the non-implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage, urging state governors to commence the payment as stipulated by law, pending the review of the revenue formula, was rejected by the House of Representatives yesterday.

Also rejected was an amendment not to tie the payment of the minimum wage to the removal of fuel subsidy.

The House, however, resolved to dialogue with the labour and the minister of labour, employment and productivity and other relevant agencies to resolve the dispute over the implementation of the new minimum wage law.

President Goodluck Jonathan had signed into law since May, a bill of the National Assembly stipulating that the minimum wage for workers in the country should be N18,000 per month.

But some state governors insisted that only the review of the revenue formula and the removal of fuel subsidy by government were the conditions that must be fulfilled before they could implement the minimum wage law.

Expectedly, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) kicked against the demands of the state governors and issued an ultimatum to call out workers for an industrial action.

Mover of the motion, Mr. Peace Nnaji of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Enugu State, had warned that the discordant tunes over the payment of the minimum wage were not healthy for industrial harmony.

After a prolonged debate of the motion, the House asked the Executive to initiate a bill for the enactment of a new revenue allocation formula in favour of local governments and states to allow them pay the N18,000 minimum wage.

One of the prayers of the motion to advise the state governors to commence the payment of the new minimum wage pending the review of the revenue allocation formula, moved by Umar Bature (PDP), Sokoto State was rejected.

With no dissent voice, the House equally rejected another prayer by Abubakar Momoh (ACN, Edo State), which stated that the payment of the new minimum wage should not be tied to the removal of fuel subsidy as demanded by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

Momoh's attempt to draw the attention of his colleagues to the fact that the National Minimum Wage Act did not need to be domesticated in the states before implementation was overruled by Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha who presided over the session.

Ihedioha was quick in declaring that Momoh's argument was noted but had been overtaken by events.

Speaking the minds of his colleagues last month, Chairman of the Governors Forum, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State said until the current revenue formula was amended, the states would not be able to pay the new wage.

The forum also urged the Federal Government to immediately remove the petroleum subsidy as one of the conditions to implement the new minimum wage by state governments.