President Muhammadu Buhari.The national minimum wage dispute is far from being over following the decision of the House of Representatives to pass N30,000 as the new wage.
It will be recalled that the lawmakers had passed the N30,000, on Wednesday, an amount higher by N3,000 than the N27,000 President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly earlier in his bill.
However, according to findings, the President had again come under pressure not to sign the N30,000 should the Senate concur with the decision of the House of Representatives.
A reliable source stated that: “The governors are the main problem. Recall that the majority of governors had all along opposed any increment above N18,000. They reluctantly agreed to pay N22,500 after a series of meetings at a time when the Federal Government too said it could offer N24,000.
“When there was much threat from labour, insisting that it must be N30,000, the National Council of State tried to find a middle ground by approving N27,000.”
Investigations showed that while the governors had yet to come to terms with the N27,000, the House of Representatives reportedly “compounded” the issue with the passage of the N30,000.
A senior official, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja, said, “The second-term governors are among the most rigid. If they put more pressure on the President not to sign and he succumbs, it means that there will be more crisis after the elections.
“Recall that labour has already started warming up, kicking against the N27,000. The Senate, as constituted today, is most likely going to concur with the position of the House by passing N30,000 as well.”
The Senate had proceeded on election recess to reconvene on February 19, three days after the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, the Presidency tried to play down the issue when one of our correspondents contacted its officials on Friday, saying Buhari was awaiting the final decision of the National Assembly before taking any further steps.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, told SUNDAY PUNCH that it was too early to make reach a conclusion since the Senate had yet to consider the bill.
Enang stated, “There is no problem yet. The bill is still within the National Assembly. We don’t want to make any issue about it yet. We will still wait for the Senate to go on conference (with the House).
“Our own is that we have submitted it (N27,000) to them, but the Senate will still have to go on conference. There is no problem for now.”