Buhari Brings 'Unpalatable' Message To Some Workers Expecting 'New' Minimum Wage
While a new National Minimum Wage is coming to Nigerian workers, some form of unfavourable condition is also embedded in the largess and President Muhammadu Buhari wants workers to know this.
The labour unions and organised labour have requested for 30,000 Naira as the new wage and the government has started the process of implementing the agreement reached with representatives of the unions in the last quarter of 2018.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, however, emphasised a part of the process that might not sound good to persons that are already earning above the new National Minimum Wage being proposed.
Labour had received an assurance that a bill on the new wage would be ready before January 23 and it was a sweet message.
The process has kicked off and President Buhari on Wednesday inaugurated a Technical Committee that will advise the government on how best to fund new cost that will arise as a result of the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage that is being processed.
At the event held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he told the gathering that the Federal Government had made adequate provision for the increase, but feared states would need to do more to be able to generate the revenue needed to meet the new demand.
"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," he said.
But with the new increment comes a sacrifice to be made by people who already earn above the proposed new wage.
"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.
"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.
"It is absolutely important that the implementation of a new minimum wage does not adversely affect these targets, and thereby erode the envisaged gains for the workers," the President emphasised.
President Buhari had at an interview organised by ThisDay on Monday expressed fears that some state would have issues paying the proposed wage.
Again at the Technical Committee inauguration he emphasised that as much as a review of the National Minimum Wage was long overdue, some prevailing fiscal challenges were also there.
"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 Read: Where Do We Get N30,000 From? Buhari Asks
"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 governments to pay workers as and when due.
"It is against this background that I have set up a Technical Committee to advise Government on how best to fund, in a sustained manner, the additional costs that will arise from the implementation of the consequential increases in salaries and allowances for workers currently earning above the new minimum wage," he told the gathering.
On other duties of the Technical Committee President Buhari said: "The Technical Committee being inaugurated today will be chaired by an Economist and Financial Expert, Mr Bismarck Rewane.
"Other members of the Committee are experienced economists and administrators from the private sector working together with all the relevant officials in the Government.
"The Terms of Reference of the Committee are: 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 and Propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases.
"They will also offer any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases".
He also added that "giving the urgency of this exercise, the Committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month today [January 9]".
If you enjoyed reading this and our other stories, please, share with friends and loved ones.