Minimum Wage: Buhari Picks Bismarck Rewane to Head Advisory Panel

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Renowned financial expert, Mr Bismarck Rewane, has been chosen by President Muhammadu Buhari to head the technical advisory committee on the implementation of the national minimum wage.

The panel was inaugurated on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 at the Presidential Villa in Abuja and tasked to develop and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases.

The committee was also asked to 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.

It was further asked to propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases and provide any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases.

Mr Buhari explained that the panel was set up 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 of N30,000.

“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,” the President said.

Mr Buhari, who said at the inauguration that he was “committed to a review of the minimum wage,” noted that federal government was meeting with the state governors because it is imperative that they were carried along in determining any upward review of the minimum wage for workers.

He told the committee that given the urgency of this exercise, it is “expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month today.”

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