Following the transmission of the National Minimum bill to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate on Thursday gave the bill accelerated hearing, as it immediately passed first and second reading.
Moving the motion for an accelerated hearing by the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan, Senate, therefore, suspended order 79 to enable simultaneous first and second reading.
Ahmed Lawan insisted that the wage bill was important to the welfare of Nigerians that needed the cooperation of the Senators in order to have a seamless debate.
He also expressed optimism that Nigerian workers would work harder if the bill is passed into law.
Contributing to the debate, Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Shehu Sani said, the minimum of N27,000 was inadequate, while suggesting N30,000.
Senate Minority leader, Biodun Olujimi cautioned that the minimum wage should not be taken as one of those gimmicks of campaign.
She said, both parties should sit down and discuss implementation strategy, noting that the bill was the most important so far.
“You know we are in the electioneering year, and this should not be one of those gimmicks because of election. This is one of the most important bill so far. ”
Senator Jibrin Barau representing Kano North Senatorial district appealed to Nigerian governors who are already complaining to look inwards with a view to considering how to pay the minimum wage.
Barau said, State governments should embark on internal revenue drive in order to increase their revenues to enable them pay the wage bill.
Senator Samuel Anyanwu representing Imo East Senatorial District carpeted the APC government for doing nothing despite their campaign promises.
He described N27,000.00 as too paltry for Nigerian workers, stating that the amount could not buy anything now.
“The APC government with this N27,000.00 has brought nothing to the table. What we have as a bill was a decision of all Nigerian governors.
Reacting, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu cautioned that the minimum wage should apply across boards and shouldn’t be discriminatory.
“What should be established here is that N27,000 should not be for the states while N30,000 should be for the Federal workers. ”
“All over the world, National Minimum wage cut across boards.”
After the first and second reading, Ike Ekweremadu adopted the seconding reading, while he set up the Committee to work on the bill and return in two weeks time for final passage into law.