The House of Representatives is considering a bill to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow states to determine their minimum wage.
The bill sponsored by Garba Datti seeks to move the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.
The implication is that states Houses of Assembly will legislate on minimum wage as against the current practice of National Assembly legislating for the country.
In his lead debate, Datti suggested that states determine what they can pay based on available resources.
He noted further that the current law on minimum wage is too arbitrary without the peculiarities of individual states being considered.
“We all know that states are not equal, some states can pay, why some cannot afford it,” he said.
Also supporting the bill, Babajimi Benson said states should determine what they can pay. He argued that for instance “the governor of Lagos State should not be earning the same as the governor of Zamfara State.”
Opposing the bill, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase led the charge against the bill. He described the bill as “anti-people.”
He urged the lawmakers to reject the bill. He noted that governors will abuse such legislation.
“I know what is going to happen when you allow states to decide minimum wage. It will lead more people into poverty. Even when they have the resources, they will not pay,” he stated.
Also opposing the bill, Aminu Suleiman from Kano State vowed to fight the bill to the committee level.
The bill was referred to the committee on constitution amendment.