Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law, the new Minimum Wage Bill transmitted to him by the National Assembly, saying “it is long overdue.”
Mr Celestine Odo, Manager, Governance of the ActionAid Nigeria, and Mr Okeke Anya, Programme Manager, Democratic Governance of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), made the call on Wednesday in Abuja.
The bill, aiming to increase the minimum wage from N18, 000 to N30,000 had passed third reading at the National Assembly and transmitted to President Buhari for assent.
The lawmakers pegged the wage bill across all categories of workers at N30, 000 against the N27, 000 proposed for state workers by the president after consulting the National Council of State members.
President Buhari had also on March 25 received the report of the Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of the New National Minimum Wage.
Speaking with NAN, Mr Odo said since President Buhari had shown interest in supporting the wage increase, “efforts should be made to expedite action on the bill as soon as possible.”
“The president has been saying that he is in support of an increase in the minimum wage and he will ensure it comes through. So this should be followed with action,” he said.
According to him, though the Federal Government’s challenge is how to raise funds for the increase, it is time the bill is signed into law.
“We are urging the president not to even waste time to sign it immediately so that they roll it into motion.
“We are already mobilising the civil society organisations, stakeholders and even the Nigeria Labour Congress, to urge him to sign the bill.
“It is overdue and even going by the price index, the N30, 000 falls below the expected earnings within the Nigerian context,” he said.
On his part, Mr Anya said since the lower and the upper houses in the National Assembly had concurred on N30, 000 minimum wage for workers, the president should not hesitate assenting to it.
”By and large, the N30, 000 is not up to a $100 per month.
”So, I call on the president to sign the bill into law, knowing that people are suffering.
”Otherwise, it will be a very great disservice to the working population in Nigeria,” he said.