President Muhamamdu Buhari has inaugurated a technical advisory committee on the implementation of the new minimum wage.
While inaugurating the committee Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari restated his commitment to the payment of a new minimum wage for workers in Nigerian.
He emphasised that there is no question about an upward review of the minimum wage as it time to do so.
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, he said.
The President noted that although the issue of minimum wage is in the exclusive list, it is important to carry the state governments along in the negotiation process because it is imperative to do so.
It is imperative that the federal government carries a long the state governments in determining any upward review of a new national minimum wage for workers. This is essentially necessary considering the prevailing public sector revenue challenges which have made it extremely difficult for some of the governments, which have made it extremely difficult for some of the governments to pay workers as and when due, he said.
President Buhari announced that government at the federal level had since made provisions for the payment of the new minimum wage in the 2019 budget, to show its readiness to pay the new wage to be approved by the National Assembly.
He said: 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.
Giving reasons for the setting up of a technical advisory committee, he said government was taking proactive measures that will help address the expected adjustments for salaries of people who are already earning more than the new minimum wage, as well as ensure that the implementation of the new minimum wage does not affect the country's development plans.
However, 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.
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 explained.
The Nigerian leader further explained that the technical committee comprised of economic experts drawn from both the public and private sectors, as he reeled out the committee's terms of reference.
He said: The Technical Committee being inaugurated today will be chaired by an Economist and Financial Expert, Mr. Bismarck Rewane. Other members of the Committee are experienced economists and administrators from the private sector working together with all the relevant officials in the Government.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee are:
1. To develop, and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases;
2. 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;
3. Propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases;
4. Any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases.
Mr Bismarck Rewane is to Chair the 24-man committee while the Director General Budget Office, Ben Akabueze is to serve as its Secretary.
The committee has four weeks to submit its report, with effect from Wednesday January 9.
Detailed list of the Technical Advisory Committee members:
From the private sector are former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Sulieman Barry, Dr Ayo Teriba, and Prof. Akpan Ekpo.
From the public sector are: Chairman FIRS, Dr Babatunde Fowler, 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, 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 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, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Economic Policy Dr. Joseph Nnanna, Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Director General Debt Management Officer, Ms. Patience Oniaga, Director General National Institute of Social and Economic Research, Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, Statistician General, National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale, Mrs. Aisha Hamad, Mamman Garba and Tunde Lawal.
Source: Voice of Nigeria