President Muhamamdu Buhari on Wednesday inaugurated a Technical Advisory Committee on the implementation of a new minimum wage headed by and economist and financial expert, Mr. Bismarck Rewane.
The President said he is committed to the implementation of a new national minimum wage for workers in the country.
“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.
He said the federal government has 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.”
The President said although the issue of minimum wage is in the exclusive list, it is important to carry state governments along in the negotiation process.
“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.
Giving reasons for the setting up of a technical advisory committee, the President said government was taking proactive measures to address the expected adjustments for salaries of people who are already earning more than the new minimum wage, and 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 said.
He said the technical committee, comprised of economic experts drawn the public and private sectors develop and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases, and identify new revenue sources and 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 Plans.
He said the committee is also mandated to propose work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases, and any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases.
Members of the committee are chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr Babatunde Fowler; representative of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF); chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. 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, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse; and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Olajide Odewale.
Others are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote; Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata; Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice President, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu; Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (Economic Policy), Dr. Joseph Nnanna; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; and the Director General of Debt Management Officer, Ms. Patience Oniaga.
Others include Director General of National Institute of Social and Economic Research, Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith; Statistician General, National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale; Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Suleiman Barry, Dr Ayo Teriba, Professor Akpan Ekpo, Mrs. Aisha Hamad, Mamman Garba and Tunde Lawal.