Governors Insist They Can’t Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage
Governors of the 36 states of the federation on Monday, described the insistence of the Nigerian Labour Congress on N30,000 minimum wage as an attempt to hold the country to ransom.
The governors, speaking through the platform of the Nigeria Governors Forum, insisted that they were not capable of paying the minimum wage been demanded by the NLC due to economic and financial realities.
They made their position known in a statement issued through the Head, Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, in Abuja.
They added that they opened their financial records to the NLC in a bid to show willingness, transparency and openness even though they were under no obligation to do so.
Recall Naija News earlier published a report in which the NLC reiterated its resolve to proceed on a prolonged nationwide strike over the failure of the government to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000 for Nigerian workers.
Barkindo’s statement however said, “Governors have collectively made it abundantly clear that they would have been happy to pay workers the N30,000 but times are hard and because of financial constraints and other limitations, many states cannot afford it, for now.
“The NGF had offered workers an increment N22,500 from the current N18,000 after the submission of the report of the tripartite committee set up by the President and headed by a retired Head of Service, Ms Amma Pepple, on October 6, last year.
“The N22,500 was arrived at, after extensive deliberations among all 36 governors, outlining their financial capacities and liquidity, considering the economic situation of the country and the states’ other obligations to the majority of the people of their various domains.
“Governors also emphasized that N22,500 is a ‘baseline threshold,’ meaning that any governor who can pay more than N22,500 is therefore free to go ahead and do so.
“Let it be known that governors have met the President twice on this matter and presented their books to buttress their point.
“First, a batch of state governors, led by the NGF Chairman, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, in company of governors Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi attended a closed -door meeting with the President where the financial standing of six states, one each from all the geopolitical zones in the country, were shown to the President, after which, on Mr President’s request, all the states forwarded their books, their revenues, both IGR and their earnings from the Federation Account along with their other sources of revenue, for examination. The President appears satisfied with the governors’ position, thus the decision to set up a new committee.
“To put the records straight, governors are not under any obligation, by law, to show their books to the NLC.”
“Yet, the NLC remains adamant that its will must be done, or the heavens will fall.”
He revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had at his last meeting with the governors on December 15, 2018 warned them to expect harsher economic conditions in the New Year.
According to Bello-Barkindo, the revelation further validated the governors’ fears that the figure been demanded by NLC was not inline with economic realities and may therefore not be sustainable.
“To therefore insist that states must oblige the NLC its demands, regardless of the economic gloom that stares the nation in the face is most unpatriotic and a deliberate attempt to hold the nation, especially the President to ransom, this being an election year,” he said.