New minimum wage: Reasons we set up technical committee –Buhari

Ezekiel Johnson
Ezekiel Johnson
Democracy Day: Buhari’s national broadcast (full text)

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday set up a technical committee charged with the responsibility of coming up with modalities to minimise the inflationary impact of the new minimum wage.

The committee, he said, would also ensure that the introduction of the new wage did not bring about job losses.

The president made the explanation just as he appointed the Chief Executive of Financial Derivative, Bismarck Rewane, to lead the committee.

The president added:  “The work of this Technical Committee will be the basis of a Finance Bill which will be submitted to the National Assembly, alongside the Minimum Wage Bill.

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“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 governors to pay workers as and when due.”

The president who spoke during the inauguration of the committee said enough provision had been made for the increase of the minimum wage in the 2019 budget.

He pointed out however that it was expected that after the new minimum wage had been passed into law there would be negotiations for salary review for all the workers who were 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.,” he said.

While stating the committee had one month to work, he stated the terms of reference as:

  1. To develop and advise the government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases;
  2. 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
  3. Propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases;
  4. Any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this and future wage increases.

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