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After NLC protest, Federal Government constitutes committee over New Minimum Wage

Following the nationwide protest embarked upon by organized labour on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari has on Wednesday constituted a Technical Advisory Committee on the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The committee to be headed by renowned economist Bismarck Rewane consists of members of both public and private establishments in the country.

 The President made this known before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa Abuja.

On Tuesday, the Nigerian Labour Congress had embarked on a nationwide rally and protest meant to sensitize the populace on the need for the new minimum wage as well as to demand that the president speedily forward the agreement it reached with the tripartite committee constituted by the federal government to the national Assembly so that it can be enacted as a law.

The Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige had assured the organized labour that the agreement would be presented to the national assembly on the 23rd of January.

While inaugurating the Technical Advisory committee, the president underlined his commitment to the upward review of salaries of workers in the country. According to him:

“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.

“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.

“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.”

The committee is to submit its report within 30 days.

Members of the committee are Mr Bismarck Rewane as Chairman, former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Dr Babatunde Fowler, ex-FIRS boss, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Dr Ayo Teriba, and Prof. Akpan Ekpo.

Others are 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, 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.

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