Governors Say N30,000 Minimum Wage Is Not Possible
Lagos and Rivers state are the only states that can afford to pay the N30,000 minimum wage as recommended by the new minimum wage committee.
This was stated by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) at an emergency meeting The governors explained that paying N30,000 will make states go bankrupt.
Labour leaders and top government officials had arrived at the amount on the eve of the nationwide strike planned by labour.
This report was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari who promised to study it and make his decision public.
The governors after yesterday’s meeting resolve to choose some members of the committee to meet with Buhari over the issue like governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Kaduna.
Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state and chairman of the NGF, said it is impossible to implement the N30,000 minimum wage without downsizing the workforce all over the country.
He added that the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the federal government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula
“The N18,000 of today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay, not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt.”
Yari also justified the affluence of governors, saying it is compulsory.
“As Nigerians we should look at the issue seriously. While other people are saying that governors are flying private jet and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory,” he said.
“The issue of government overhead cost if you put it together with personnel cost, it cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries if you say it should pay N30,000, now it wiĺl be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos state that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, this is our country, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”
Asked the way forward, Yari said, “As for the way forward, we will continue to talk with labour, let them see reasons why governors have difficulties. Some of us have internally generated revenue (IGR). For instance, the money Lagos state is using to pay is not coming from Abuja. They have a way of getting their money from the IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. They get money through VAT.
“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot afford to pay. So we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen. One critical example is that some state ration their salaries while some other put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and they ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost.
“We should not exploit this matter further we are leaders today, tomorrow others will be there. So let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.’’