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Governors Insist They Cannot Meet Minimum Wage Demands
Nigerian State Governors have insisted that they cannot increase the minimum wage from 18,000 to 30,000 naira as requested by the Nigerian Labour Congress.
The governors released this statement yesterday after an emergency meeting of Nigerian Government Forum headed by the Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari.
The statement contained a disclosure that the state governors had deliberated on the new minimum wage after a briefing from the forum’s representatives at the Tripartite Committe.
Yari further disclosed that NLC had demanded N30,000 as new minimum wage but the NGF does not have the capacity to pay the sum. This was after the governors considered the rate of development in their states, particularly in health, education and infrastructure.
He added that the forum was concerned with the populace’s well being, highlighting the economic hardship facing the masses. The forum says that this is the best it can offer.
“The welfare of all Nigerians is our ultimate concern. In all our States, we are concerned about the deteriorating economic situation experienced by the vulnerable segment of our population.
“In agreeing to a National Minimum Wage, however, the Forum is even more concerned about development, particularly in the health, education and infrastructure spheres.
“It is, therefore, our considered position that since the percentage of salaried workers is not more than five per cent of the total working population, our position must not just reflect a figure, but also a sustainable strategy based on ability and capacity to pay, as well as reflective of all our developmental needs in each State.
“Afterall, Section 3 of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Act provides that “the Commission shall recommend a proposition of income growth which should be initiated for wage increase and also examined the salary structure in public and private sector with reasonable features of relativity and maximum levels which are in consonance with the national economy.”
“It is in this sense that we feel strongly that our acceptable minimum wage must be done in such a way that total personnel cost does not exceed 50 per cent of the revenue available to each State.
Governors, therefore, agreed to pay a national minimum wage of N22,500,”Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar’s statement read.
This is however in contrast to statements released by some state governors.
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom had earlier agreed to pay any amount agreed by the NLC, encouraging other governors to the same.
Jigawa state governor, Mohammed Badaru also said they he is willing to pay the wage requested by the congress.
The issue is still on-going as delay by the forum to deliver NLC’s request might lead to a nation wide strike.
Peaceful protests and sensitization have been going on in some states in the country as the NLC still threatens to hold a nationwide strike come November 6.