Minimum Wage: Buhari Receives Report

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received the report of the Technical Advisory Committee on the implementation of the new minimum wage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The bill, aiming to increase the minimum wage to N30,000 has passed third reading at the National Assembly.

Prior to the general elections, government had settled for N30,000 as minimum wage for federal workers. State workers were to go home with N27,000 after consulting the National Council of State members comprising former Presidents, military Heads of State including former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court.

The National Assembly however, pegged the wage bill across all categories of workers at N30,000.

Receiving the report of the Bismarck Rewane-led committee, President Buhari assured panel members  that  government will expeditiously review the report.

According to him, some members of the committee would be engaged during the review.

He said: “We will review this report expeditiously. In the process, we may need to engage some members of your Committee, I therefore implore you to make your services available whenever we may call on you.”

The Presidential Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of the National Minimum Wage (PTAC) was inaugurated on  January 9, with a mandate to advise the government on how best to fund, in a sustained manner, the additional costs of implementing the imminent increase in the National Minimum Wage.

Buhari said: “You were also asked to advise on the consequential increases in salaries and allowances for other employees, without worsening our already difficult fiscal condition, and without adversely impacting the nation’s development goals as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“The Committee was also required to propose a work plan and modalities for implementation of the salary increase.”

He pointed out that the Technical Committee was “chaired by an economist and businessman, Bismarck Rewane, and has other experienced economists and administrators from the private sector, as well as relevant officials in  government. It also has a representative of the Governors’ Forum.

“I am very pleased that the committee took on this important national assignment with all seriousness.” Buhari said.

The President thanked the PTAC Chairman  and members for their patriotism, hard work, commitment and sacrifices.

He said: “I understand that you have worked tirelessly to ensure that you deliver the report before we receive the Minimum Wage Bill from the National Assembly.

“Let me also thank the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning, for coordinating the work of the Committee as well as the Budget Office of the Federation; the National Incomes, Salaries and Wages Commission; the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; the Federal Inland Revenue Service; the National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Nigeria, which provided strong support to the Committee in the course of the assignment,” he said.

The President also praised the support received from private sectors, particularly, Access Bank Plc; PricewaterhouseCoopers; KPMG Advisory Services; Financial Derivatives Company and Economic Associates for their contributions to the successful conclusion of the committee’s work.

It was feared in some quarters that implementation of the new minimum wage may cause another crisis between the executive and the organised labour following the discovery that the budgetary provision of about N150 billion in the 2019 Appropriations was grossly inadequate.

It was gathered that the Federal Government requires between N250 billion and N300 billion annually to pay the new  wage.

Giving the terms of reference to the committee, the President had hinted that after the new minimum wage get passed into law, government would go into negotiations for salary review for all the workers already earning above the new minimum wage.

The President had in his remarks stated that it was important to properly prepare the minds of those public servants involved so that they would not be taken unawares when it gets to time for implementation.

Members of the committee included Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Dr Babatunde Fowler, ex-FIRS boss, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Dr Ayo Teriba, Chief Executive Officer and Prof. Akpan Ekpo among others.

From the public sector were the 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 and  Permanent Secretary General Service Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olusegun Adekunle.

Others were 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.

Also in the committee were 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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