President Muhammadu Buhari has named renowned economist and CEO of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane as the chairman of a 24-man Presidential Advisory Committee on the New Minimum Wage.

The Director General of the Budget office, Ben Akabueze is to serve as the secretary. The panel has one month to submit its report on how the federal government can successfully and sustainably implement a new minimum wage and identify ways to source for the revenue.

Members of the panel

Other members of the committee include Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr Babatunde Fowler, a 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 of 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 of Ministry of Budget and National Planning; Olajide Odewale, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour; Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, and Solicitor General Of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of 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.

President Buhari described members of the committee as “experienced economists and administrators” from the private sector working together with all the relevant officials in the Government, listed four terms of reference for the committee.

Terms of Reference for the committee

Buhari gave the four terms for the Committee include: “To develop, and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases; 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; Propose a 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.”

It may be recalled at the 2019 budget presentation at the National Assembly, Mr. Buhari had promised to set up a technical committee to look into the recommendations of the tripartite committee on minimum wage which agreed to peg it at N30,000.

But at the inauguration the president 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.

“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.

The president’s comment about “negotiations…for earning above new minimum wage may be a discomforting twist for the organized labour who is already poised for a showdown with government over the constitutionally mandated increase every five years which typically cuts across the entire salary scale structure.

At the inauguration were the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, among others.

 

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