The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has submitted that state governors not paying the minimum wage are breaching the law of the country.
This is as the Minister noted that the minimum wage bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2019 makes it compulsory for all employers that meet the condition stipulated in it to pay workers the approved minimum wage of N30,000.
Ngige made the submission on Sunday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
He clarified that the minimum wage is different from the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and any state governor or employer of labour that is not complying with it may be sued by the workers or himself.
The Minister however added that he is still working out the modalities with the Attorney-General of the federation on the next line of action that will be taken against such employers.
“If you read the Act well, you will see the applicability of the Act. The applicability is that all parts of the Federation (Section II); Section III also says N30,000 shall be paid, the operating word is shall.
“It does not give room for picking and choosing, it is a must. The state governors that are not paying are breaching the law of the land,” the minister said.
He added that: “This is a national law that states what you will pay to the lowest-paid employee (worker) in your establishment; state governments are employers… they are caught in the web of this law until repealed.
“Any state government or employer that negotiates minimum wage like some of them are doing with their unions, they are running afoul of the law.”
On what would be the next line of action against the defaulters, Ngige said: “I am negotiating with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF); the law permits me to take them to court.
“I can take any employer to court. If governors have immunity, I can start from the secretary to the government, to the head of service, and go down to the State Executive Council; take them all to court and I do not need any permission.”
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Sunday announced its decision to sell the five power generation companies constructed under National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
Naija News reports that this was made known by the BPE in a document signed by the Director-General, Alex Okoh, and made available to newsmen.
The BPE asked investors to bid for the 100 percent shareholding of the government in any of the companies.