• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Legislation to compel foreign employers to pay national minimum wage scales 2nd reading

wage billThe bill that seeks to include companies with foreign interests to pay National Minimum Wage has passed through second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The bill to amend the ‘National Minimum Wage Act 2004 seeks to exclude the establishments that have foreign participation from the list of establishments exempted from the payment of National Minimum Wage and for other related matters’ was sponsored by Peter Akpatason (APC-Edo).

The bill also seeks to compel companies, which employ minimum of 20 workers on the list of establishments that will be paying national minimum wage as stipulated in subsection 1a.

Under the new arrangement, erring employer who contravene the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act is to pay a fine of N100,000 against the N500 as stipulated in the principal Act.

In his lead debate, Akpatason explained that companies that make profits worth billions of naira in Nigeria do not have up to 50 workers, yet do not pay the N18,000 national minimum wage.

According to Akpatason, the exemption of foreign owned companies from the list of establishments that are excluded from the payment of minimum wage has done a great disservice to the nation in terms of its revenue.

To effectively address the lacuna, Akpatason stressed the need to delete subsection 1e, which provides that “person working in ships and airplanes were excluded in the principal Act.”

The lawmaker also stressed the need to delete section 4 of the principal Act, which granted “permit for exemption for worker affected by infirmity or physical injury (discriminatory against disabled).

He also solicited for the amendment of Section 6(3) of the principal Act, which gave the Attorney-General of the Federation to use his discretion to determine who to prosecute or not in terms of contraventions of the law on payment of the national minimum wage.

While urging the lawmakers to support the proposed amendment, he noted that in the last amendment to the existing Act, the interpretation of the foreign companies included those that have up to 50 percent equity participation by foreigners.

He explained “in addition to broadening the scope of participation to incorporate more categories of Nigerian workers eligible to benefit from minimum wage payment, these proposed amendments also represent a clear demonstration of this eighth Assembly to timeously address issue of obsolete laws in support of the change agenda of this government.”

The House adopted the bill without further debate when the speaker, Yakubu Dogara called for a voice vote on the motion, which was overwhelmingly voted by the lawmakers.

He later referred the matter to the House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity for further legislative inputs.