The Senate on Monday passed the new national minimum wage Bill, which fixed the lowest salary of a worker in the country at N30, 000.
The approval of N 30, 000 national minimum wage runs contrary to the N27, 000 recommended by the Federal Government in a Bill it sent to the National Assembly in January.
The lawmakers also asked the Federal Government to initiate immediate review of the revenue sharing formula for the three tiers governments to ensure seamless implementation of the new minimum wage at the state and local government levels.
Under the current revenue formula, the Federal Government receives 56 percent from the federation account including 4% ecology fund, states 24 percent while 20 percent go to the 774 local government councils
Apart from passing the Bill, the upper chamber also asked the Federal Government to prepare and forward to the National Assembly, a supplementary appropriation Bill to cover the approved N30, 000 new minimum wage.
The House of Representatives had already passed the Bill shortly before the National Assembly proceeded on its general elections break in January.
Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, who chaired the ad-hoc committee on national minimum wage, presented the report of his committee for consideration and adoption by the chamber.
The Edo North Senator in his presentation of the 18 -Clause report, noted the N5, 000 fine stipulated in clause 3(1) of the Bill against any employer who failed to keep records of employees was increased to N75, 000 to ensure compliance.
He prayed the Senate to approve the N30, 000 minimum wage as recommended by his committee.
Although no Senator opposed the N30, 000 minimum wage, contributors to the report insisted that the subsisting revenue sharing formula should be reviewed to enable states and local governments to pay
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, in her contribution noted that without the review of the revenue sharing formula, states and local governments would lack the required financial capacity to pay the new wage.
She said: “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 governments to get more funds from the monthly allocations, implementing the new minimum wage may be difficult for them.”
Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East) who also contributed agreed that the review of the subsisting revenue sharing formula was long overdue.
He however insisted even without the review, no state could claim lack of financial capacity to pay the N30, 000 new minimum wage going by the amount of money state governors spent to allegedly buy votes during the just concluded elections.
Gemade said: “Going by the volume of money and enormous amount spent by 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 governor, pay the new N30, 000 minimum wage to her workers”.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks noted that with the passage of the new minimum wage, industrial harmony and improved national productivity will be achieved in the country.