The federal government has threatened to sanction the management of National Assembly over the flagrant breach of the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2019, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Act provides that every employer shall pay a national minimum wage of not less than N30, 000 per month to every worker under his establishment, except where the number of employees is less than 25 or are paid on a part-time basis or are seasonal employees.
The threat notice was contained in the two-page circular with reference number: SWC/S/65/III/696 dated February 21, 2022, and titled: ‘Implementation of the National Minimum Wage of N30,000 per month-Reminder’, which was signed by the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta, and addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Amos Ojo.
The circular was also addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President; Ministers and Ministers of State; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and Head of Civil Service of the Federation; Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chairmen, Federal Commissions; Federal Permanent Secretaries; National Judicial Council (NJC), Secretary, Federal Judicial Service Commission; Directors-General and Chief Executives of Parastatals, Agencies and Government-owned companies; Auditor-General for the Federation; Accountant-General for the Federation; Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation; Heads of State Civil Services; Secretaries to State Governments; Chairman, Local Government Areas; Directors-General and Chief Executives of Parastatals, Agencies and Government-owned companies; Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA); Director-General, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME); President.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Private Sector Agencies, and Non-Governmental Organisations.
The NSIWC chairman in the letter said: “The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission hereby reiterates that all employers of labour are expected to implement with effect from April 18, 2019, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) of N30,000 per month subject to the provisions of Section 4 of the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2019.
Accordingly, any federal government agency that is yet to implement the National Minimum Wage and the consequential adjustments arising therefrom in line with NSIWC circulars that were issued on November 14, 2019, should clear with the commission if they have problems with the implementation.
“Agencies that were not mentioned in the circulars but were required to clear with the commission before implementation, that have already implemented theirs without requisite approvals from the commission, should submit details of implementation for verification/ratification. State/local governments and private sector organisations are at liberty to consult the commission for guidance as they may deem fit. The commission will monitor the implementation and compliance in line with the provisions of Section 2 of the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2019. Thereafter, sanctions, as provided in Sections 13, 14 and 15, will apply where necessary. Please bring the contents of this circular to the notice of your ministries, departments and agencies, and stakeholders.”
In response to the NSIWC’s circular, the Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission, Ahmed Kadi Amshi, via a circular with reference No: NASC/CIIO/GC/II/99, and dated February 28, 2022, directed the NASC secretary to attend a meeting where the modalities of the payment of the arrears and present the financial implications of the balance of the arrears for the staff of the commission.
Amshi said the letter from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission clarified that April 2019 was the authentic date of implementation of National Minimum Wage in the National Assembly Service instead of 2020 as previously presented.
He, however, observed that the letter was silent on the ‘second leg’ which is approval of other allowances from the Presidential Steering Committee, hence, the need for the union to continue to follow up.
The chairman, during the meeting, recommended three possible proposed methods of payment of the minimum wage balance of eight months 13 days.
He said the NASC management is pursuing the review/amendment of National Assembly 2022 budget to accommodate funds to implement the balance of minimum wage arrears since it was not captured in the 2022 budget.