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Minimum wage: NLC calls for sanctions against defaulting states

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the National Assembly to enforce sanctions against any state that defaults in the payment of the new national minimum wage.

According to the national treasurer of the NLC, Hakeem Ambali, this is the only way to ensure strict compliance with the bill when it is passed into law.

Ambali also called for the political will to enforce the sanctions adding that the former Minimum Wage Act also contained clauses for sanctions, even though they were not strong enough to deter defaulters.

“Such clauses have always been in the bill. This will not be the first time that they will be included in the bill. But, the political will to enforce that caveat really matters, though the provision was not strong in the last minimum wage act,” he said.

“If the Senate can do the needful and also oversee the implementation, it will be the best thing for Nigerian workers.

Regarding sanctioning defaulters, he said, “Any sanction proposed should be strong enough to deter them from disobeying that law.

“For the state governments that haven’t fully complied with the N30,000 minimum wage payment… All of those in that category have been identified by Labour, and some of them have started approving the new minimum wage.

“That shows that it is all about the inability or deliberate refusal to pay due to a lack of priority for workers. Sadly, they are doing themselves harm because workers are the engine rooms that drive development. A happy and well-motivated worker is a very good asset to productivity and development.

“I believe there is no governor or local government chairman in Nigeria who cannot pay the minimum wage if we set our priorities right and desire true productivity in the country.

“We have not seen any new proposal. We expect Mr President to also engage Labour directly, so that we will have an amicable solution in the best interest of the country. The engagement does not need to take time. When there are two positions on the ground, we expect that there must be a way to harmonise the positions,” he added.

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