*Bismarck Rewane chairs panel
By Chesa Chesa
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa inaugurated the Technical Committee on National New Minimum Wage, a day after organised labour unions staged a protest nationwide to demand a minimum age of N30,000 as against the current N18,000 per month put in place since 2011.
The Committee, which comprises of experienced economists in the public and private sector is chaired by renowned economist Mr. Bismarck Rewane, and is expected to turn in its report within one month.
Others on board from the private sector are former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru; Sulieman Barry, Dr Ayo Teriba; and Prof. Akpan Ekpo.
From the public sector are: Chairman of FIRS, Dr Babatunde Fowler; Director of 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; Permanent Secretary 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 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.
The rest are Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, 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 of 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.
The committee’s terms of reference include: develop and advise government on smooth implementation of the new minimum wage, identify new revenue sources and propose work plan and modalities for implementation of the new minimum wage.
This is a follow-up on an earlier presidential tripartite committee on new minimum wage, which had organised labour, private sector and government working to arrive at the N30,000 benchmark.
In his remarks during Wednesday’s inauguration, Buhari acknowledged the imperative of a new minimum wage to improve welfare of Nigerian workers, which is why the Federal Government made provisions for it in the 2019 Budget before the National Assembly.
He said that he was now working on the final steps that would lead to the submission of a National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to the National Assembly, after consulting with state governors although minimum wage issue is on the exclusive legislative list.
“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.
“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.