An economic analyst and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives
Ltd, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, is to lead other members of the technical
committee inaugurated today by President Muhammadu Buhari to advise government on ‘the ways and means’ of funding the proposed new minimum wage pegged at N30,000.
The Director General at the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, will serve as the Secretary of the committee which comprised 20 other experts drawn from a broad spectrum of the nation’s public and private sectors.
The inauguration of the committee by the President came barely 14 hours after government representatives and organized labour leaders signed a MoU which required the Federal Government to transmit a bill
on the proposed N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly not later than January 23.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had, while presenting the
2019 Budget to the National Assembly on December 19, promised to set up a committee to critically assess the implications of the adoption
of the proposed minimum wage for the country, particularly the effects on sub-national governments’ finances.
He assured then: “I am committed to addressing the issue of a new minimum wage and I will be sending a bill to the National Assembly on this. However, in order to avoid a fiscal crisis for the Federal Government, as well as the States, it is important to devise 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 advise on ways of funding an increase in the minimum wage, and the attendant wage adjustments, without having to resort to additional borrowings”, President Buhari added.
Over the past few months, the minimum wage issue had pitched the organized labour against the federal and state governments in a battle
of socio-economic wits, with the organized labour groups insisting that unless the governments accede to what they termed ‘concessionary minimum wage’, there can’t be industrial peace in the country.
To drive home their point, the labour groups on Tuesday organized sensitization protests in some states, warning the governors, who have consistently opposed the proposed minimum wage, to abide by the recommendations of the Ama Pepple-led tripartite committee on the minimum wage or face industrial unrest in their domains.