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Minimum wage: Buhari pledges speedy action on technical report

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that expeditious action would be taken on the technical report on the New National Minimum Wage.

He made the pledge when the Bismarck Rewane-led Presidential Advisory Committee on New National Minimum Wage, inaugurated on January 9, submitted its report at the Council Chambers, State House, Abuja, yesterday.

The meeting came one week after the Senate approved N30, 000 minimum wage for federal and state workers across the country.

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

The Ama Pepple-led National Minimum sage Committee had submitted its report last November.

The lawmakers gave the approval after the National Minimum Wage Bill was read and passed for the third time in the Senate.

Buhari commended members of the committee for their patriotism, hardwork and sacrifices in ensuring they deliver the report before receipt of the minimum wage bill from the National Assembly.

Terms of reference of the committee included: 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.

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the Secretary to the government of the Federal, Boss Mustapha, were among those present at the presentation of the report.

Also in attendance were the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and that of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, as well as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, amongst others.

The organised labour, had in December 2018, rejected any attempt by the Federal Government to set up another committee on the national minimum wage, describing any such plan as diversionary and delay tactics.

President Buhari, had during the budget proposal presentation, promised a new minimum wage, which he said, will help maintain jobs for the teaming unemployed.

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He had also promised to set up a special committee to look into the current fiasco concerning the minimum wage and come up with ideas of reducing debt and yet, increasing the minimum wage.

“We have included the implementation for the National Minimum Wage. I will be sending a Bill to this National Assembly, on this.

“To avoid a system crisis on the Federal Government and states, it is important to device ways to ensure that its implementation does not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.

“I am accordingly setting up a high-powered technical committee to advice on ways of funding an increase in the minimum wage and attendant wage adjustments without having to resort to additional borrowing.

“The work of the committee will be the basis of finance bill which will be submitted to the national assembly alongside the minimum wage bill.”

Members of the committee included former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Suleiman Barry, Dr. Ayo Teriba and Prof. Akpan Ekpo (from the private sector).

Also in the committee are: Chairman FIRS, Dr Babatunde Fowler, 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, 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.

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Other members 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.

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