Reps want foreign firms to pay N18,000 minimum wage
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara
The House of Representatives began an amendment of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2004 on Wednesday to make it compulsory for companies with foreign interests to pay the minimum wage of N18,000 to their workers.
Under its current provisions, the Act exempts such foreign outfits from paying the wage as they are included on the list of establishments exempted from the wage policy.
But, on Wednesday, a former trade unionist, Mr. Peter Akpatason, sponsored a bill to amend the Act to reverse the trend.
Akpatason, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress from Edo State, informed the House that while some of those companies might have a fewer number of employees in some cases, they raked in more revenues than companies with a higher number of workers.
The bill was titled, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Minimum Wage Act Cap N6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to Exclude the Establishments that have Foreign Participation from the List of Establishments Exempted from the Payment of the National Minimum Wage and for Other Matters Related Thereto.”
Akpatason argued that such companies, which did not have up to 50 workers as pegged in the Act, made “millions and billions” of revenue yearly, but did not pay their employees the minimum wage.
To address the issue, he added that the number of workers applicable in such instances should be amended from 50 to 20 to cover the foreign companies.
Akpatason argued that by not paying the minimum wage, the country was also losing the revenues accruable to it from the operations of the companies.
He said the Act defined foreign companies to include firms that had up to 50 per cent equity participation by foreigners.
The bill easily passed the second reading on Wednesday without much debates by members.
The session was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, who promptly referred the bill to the House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity.