President Muhammadu Buhari says the technical committee he inaugurated on Wednesday is to help the government find ways of implementing a new national minimum wage without disrupting the nation’s development plans.
Mr Buhari inaugurated the committee headed by Bismarck Rewane at the Council Chamber of State House Presidential Villa, Abuja shortly before the meeting of Federal Executive Council (FEC) began.
The president noted that Nigeria last reviewed its national minimum wage in 2011. “It is therefore evident that a review is necessary, despite the prevailing fiscal challenges.”
The president said he had constituted a Tripartite Committee of Government, Organised Private Sector and Labour to consider the National Minimum Wage and make recommendations to government for its review.
He said the committee since submitted its report with some recommendations.
”We are currently working on the final steps that will lead to the submission of a National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to the National Assembly,” he said.
Mr Buhari assured that the National Minimum Wage will be reviewed upwards and that he is fully committed to doing that.
He said although the subject of a National Minimum Wage is in the Exclusive Legislative List of the Nigerian Constitution, he has been meeting with 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.”
That, he said, is necessary because the states are facing revenue challenges which have made it extremely difficult for some to pay workers as and when due.
”As you know we, at the Federal level, have made adequate provision for the increase in the Minimum Wage in our 2019 Budget proposals which we submitted to the National Assembly.
”Therefore, we will be able to meet the additional costs that will be incurred in moving up all personnel who are currently earning below the new minimum wage,” said.
Mr Buhari also said his administration anticipates 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”.
He said the government must look at ways of implementing the consequential wage adjustments in a manner that does not have adverse effects on the national development plans, as laid out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Mr Buhari said the ERGP sets appropriate targets for levels of capital expenditure, public debt, inflation and employment.
“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, ”
“It is against this background that I have set up a Technical Committee to advise Government on how best to fund, in a sustained manner, the additional costs that will arise from the implementation of the consequential increases in salaries and allowances for workers currently earning above the new minimum wage,” he said.
The technical committee is chaired by the Managing Director/CEO of Financial Derivatives, Lagos, Mr Rewane.
Other members of the team are from the private sector; former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Suleiman Barry, Ayo Teriba, and Akpan Ekpo.
From the public sector are the current Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, Director General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, who is the secretary of the committee, representative of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule, Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, 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, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Olajide Odewale, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Labour Ibukun Odusote, and Solicitor General Of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice Mr. Dayo Apata.
Others are Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, office of the Vice President, Adeyemi Dipeolu, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Economic Policy Joseph Nnanna, Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Director General Debt Management Officer, Patience Oniaga, Director General National Institute of Social and Economic Research, Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, Statistician General, National Bureau of Statistics, Yemi Kale, Aisha Hamad, Mamman Garba and Tunde Lawal.
See below the Terms of Reference of the Committee as spelt out by the president:
a. To develop, and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases;
b. 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;
c. Propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases;
d. Any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases.
Mr Buhari said because of the urgency of the exercise, the Committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month.
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