Minimum Wage: Bismarck Rewane To Chair Technical Committee

President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a technical committee to look into the review of salaries, the new minimum wage and how to avoid a harsh effect on the federal government’s purse.

The President said Economist, Bismarck Rewane will lead the committee and give the FG ideas on how to favourably pay the new minimum wage without suffering its cost implications.

In a statement released by the Presidency, Buhari said some state governors have not ‘understandably’ accepted the new minimum wage because of prevailing conditions.

He reiterated his desire to see Nigerian workers in better conditions and said, an upward salary review for them is not arguable.

Rewane, an experienced financial services expert and economic analyst has been saddled with the responsibility of coming out with results that should not shortchange neither the Federal government nor labour.

Read full statement below;

”The last time Nigeria’s national minimum wage was reviewed was in 2011. It is therefore evident that a review is necessary, despite the prevailing fiscal challenges. This is why I constituted the Tripartite Committee of Government, Organized Private Sector and Labour to consider the National Minimum Wage and make recommendations to Government for its upward review.

That Committee has 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.

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.

President Buhari exchanges pleasantry with newly appointed Head of Technical Committee on Minimum Wage, Bismarck Rewane

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 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 last time Nigeria’s national minimum wage was reviewed was in 2011. It is therefore evident that a review is necessary, despite the prevailing fiscal challenges. This is why I constituted the Tripartite Committee of Government, Organized Private Sector and Labour to consider the National Minimum Wage and make recommendations to Government for its upward review.

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.

Given the urgency of this exercise, the Committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month today.

It is now my pleasure to formally inaugurate the Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of an Increase in the National Minimum Wage.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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