The Nigerian Governors Forum has constituted a committee to re-strategise and dialogue with President Muhammadu Buhari on the proposed N30, 000 minimum wage, with the aim of working out a formula to quickly resolve the issues associated with it.
Speaking to newsmen after an emergency meeting of the forum late Wednesday in Abuja, Chairman of the forum and Governor of Zamfara, Abdul’aziz Yari, reiterated the stance of the governors that payment of N30, 000 wage was impracticable, while stressing that the proposed wage would be paid if labour would agree to downsizing of the workforce across the country “or the Federal Government itself accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.”
Yari also alleged that the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage did not include the governors submission of N22, 500 in its proposal to the President under the guise that their decision (the governors) came late.
“Situation where our report was not taken or considered by the tripartite committee in the presentation to the president. Then, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work. We still said that we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. If we say no, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will work and I don’t know how we can get solution to the issue,” he added.
Explaining further, the Zamfara governor said “it is the same labour leadership pushing for N30, 000 that would turn around to say that governors did not build any infrastructure and how are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries” but however said that the governors would continue to talk with the leadership of organised labour to make them see the difficulties associated in paying the proposed wage.
“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen.
Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries now, if you say it should start paying N30, 000 the cost of salary will be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos state that will be able to pay 30,000,” he said .
“Today it is N18, 000. In 2015 when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay. Now you say N30, 000, how many of us can pay? We will be bankrupt.
So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously,” he added.
The Governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kaduna were shortlisted as members of the committee to drive the process of negotiation with the Presidency.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.