The bill seeking to transfer the minimum wage prescription from exclusive legislative list to concurrent list has scaled second reading in House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives is seeking to decentralise the payment of minimum wage to workers in the country to allow each tier of government to pay according to its financial capacity.
Item 34 of the Exclusive Legislative List contained in the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) reads as follows: “Labour, including trade unions, industrial relation; conditions, safety and welfare of labour; industrial disputes; prescribing a national minimum wage for the federation or any part thereof; and industrial arbitrations.”
Over the time, there has been a debate over whether the minimum wage should remain in the exclusive legislative list. The central argument has always been the economic viability of the states to pay the centrally fixed minimum wage.
If the bill is passed into law, it may have satisfied its proponents, but may not be in the general interest of employees across country, especially those in the less economically viable states.