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Rewane Chairs Minimum Wage Advisory C’ttee

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In line with his promise during the presentation of the 2019 budget to the National Assembly last month, President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled the members of the Technical Advisory Committee on the implementation of the new national minimum wage.

The committee, which is headed by renowned economist and financial expert, Bismarck Rewane, has other influential Nigerians as members.

Notable among them are the former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Suleiman Barry, Dr. Ayo Teriba, and Prof. Akpan Ekpo.

Others are the incumbent chairman of FIRS, Dr. Babatunde Fowler, the director-general of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, who will serve as the committee’s secretary, a representative of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), and the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule.

The committee also comprised the permanent secretary, Service Welfare Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack; permanent secretary, General Service Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olusegun Adekunle; permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse; permanent secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Olajide Odewale; permanent secretary, Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, and the solicitor- general of the federation and permanent secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata.

Also to serve in the panel are the special adviser to the President on Economic Matters, office of the Vice President, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu; deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Economic Policy Dr. Joseph Nnanna; the accountant-general of the federation,  Ahmed Idris; the director-general, Debt Management Officer (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniaha; the director-general of the National Institute of Social and Economic Research, Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith; the statistician-general, National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale; Mrs. Aisha Hamad, Mamman Garba, and Tunde Lawal.

President Buhari, who inaugurated the committee at the presidential villa in Abuja, yesterday, gave its  terms of reference as “to develop, and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases; identify new revenue sources, as well as areas of existing expenditure from where some savings could be made in order to fund the wage increases without adversely impacting the nation’s development goals as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan; propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases; as well as any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases.”

The President restated the commitment of his administration to the upward review of the minimum wage.

According to him, the last time the national minimum wage was reviewed was in 2011, noting that it was therefore evident that a review is necessary, despite the prevailing fiscal challenges.

Buhari explained that he had constituted the Tripartite Committee of Government, Organised Private Sector and Labour to consider the national minimum wage and make recommendations to the government for its upward review.

While disclosing that the committee had since submitted its report with some recommendations, Buhari said that the Executive arm of government is currently working on the final stage that would lead to the submission of a National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to the National Assembly.

He said: “I want to make it clear that there is no question about whether the national minimum wage will be reviewed upwards. I am committed to a review of the minimum wage.

“Also, it is important to explain that even though the subject of a national minimum wage is in the Exclusive Legislative List, we have been meeting with the state governors because it is imperative that the federal government carries the state governments along in determining any upward review of the minimum wage for workers.

“This is especially necessary considering the prevailing public sector revenue challenges, which have made it extremely difficult for some of the governments to pay workers as and when due,” he said.

The President hinted that the federal government had made adequate provision for the increase in the minimum wage in the 2019 budget submitted to the National Assembly.

Buhari assured Nigerians that the federal government will meet the additional costs that will be incurred in moving up all personnel currently earning above the new minimum wage.

He said:  “We anticipate that after the new minimum wage has been passed into law, we will be going into negotiations for salary review for all the workers who are already earning above the new minimum wage. It is therefore important that we are properly prepared to meet these demands.

“We must therefore look at ways of implementing these consequential wage adjustments in a manner that does not have adverse effects on our national development plans, as laid out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“The ERGP sets appropriate targets for levels of capital expenditure, public debt, inflation, employment, etc. It is absolutely important that the implementation of a new minimum wage does not adversely affect these targets, and thereby erode the envisaged gains for the workers,” Buhari stated.

Buhari said that the committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month.


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