“We are committed to the process and hope that the timeline will be respected.
We will put this across to our organs and give them all the details contained in the Memorandum of understanding.
“You will recall that our demand is for the bill to be transmitted to NASS. We want a firm commitment so that we don’t come round a cycle. We want the agreement to be documented and signed by government representatives. With that, we can follow up on the process hoping.
“This thing has been on the table for more than two years and having submitted the report, we expect that the bill should have been submitted. The NASS will be back on January 16 from their recess so on or before January 23, the bill must have been transmitted. We know that the NASS are desirous of making sure that workers in Nigeria have decent wage, they will also be able to do the needful. We will shift our lobby to the NASS because once the bill is enacted, the money will be in the pocket of the workers.
“Issues of industrial relations are always addressed at the round table. We have been deligent in the whole process and workers have been patient, clearly we have carried them along, that is why whenever we want them to be around they are always around,” he said.
Confirming government’s promise, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige noted that “As for the transmission of the executive bill to the National Assembly, the government will religiously implement all the processes that will enable us transmit this bill within the stipulated time.
“We have a target time of January 23, 2019 and we hope that all things being equal, government will be able to do so. We will take all statutory meetings of the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council and the National Council of State meetings to enable us transmit the bill on the new national minimum wage. I that the labour unions for their understanding and appeal to them that the threats should come down. Protests are no longer necessary.”
Earlier, organised labour had embarked on a mobilisation and awareness protest over the delayed transmission of the New National Minimum Wage bill to the National Assembly. Some of the protesters were with palcards with inscriptions such as “Minimum Wage is not Negotiable, it is our right”, ” Give us our new minimum wage now”, “Upward review of minimum wage will not trigger inflation”.
Others are ” Minimum Wage is willingness to pay and not ability to pay is the challenge”, “Minimium Wage will boost Nigeria economy and among others.
In his address, Wabba stressed that the protest rally served as a warning to the Federal Government before embarking on a nationwide strike should government continue to delay the transmission of the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly.
“Today in every government house in Nigeria protest is being transmitted to all our political leaders, governors at the state levels and here we are in the office of the Minister of the FCT, which also like the governor. We want to say that workers are very central to economic development and very central to the prosperity of any country and therefore we can not be described as the tiny minority.
“Workers are very productive, we built the Nigerian economy,we fight for democracy, rule of law and good governance and there is no way we can be described asvtiny minority, as we services the entire country.
“So workers must be able to take care of their family, sent their children to school, but today workers are not able to feed three times a day or send their children to school.
“Because minimum wage of N18,000, is no longer obtainable and no longer realistic and can not take care if workers needs and this is the reality. We want to call on Mr President for the onward transmission of the bill to the National Assembly as the protest rally served as a warning before a nationwide strike, ” he said.
Sen. Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central who was present at the protest, explained that he joined the protest to express his support for the struggle for the new national minimum wage for workers in the country.