N30,000 Minimum wage: Governors kick, threaten Labour with sack

Nigerian governors have said they cannot afford to pay workers a minimum wage of N30,000 unless the organised labour wants its members to be sacked.

Apart from this, the governors at their emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night, asked the Federal Government to also accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

See Also: Governors dance backward over minimum wage negotiation

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, who read the communiqué after the meeting, said that a new committee would be raised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.

He said the committee would work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed minimum wage.

Yari said, “Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the national minimum wage, governors resolved to re-strategise and put together another committee to meet with the President once again, to work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed N30.000 minimum wage which is impracticable unless labour agrees to a downsizing of the workforce all over the country or the Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

“Members of the committee who were nominated to see the President include the governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi. Enugu and Kaduna.”

“As a member of the committee, our representative there said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late.

“I am surprised. How can you do this without the input of the states because the states are the key stakeholders in this business.

“So, a situation whereby our report was not taken or considered by the Tripartite Committee … then I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.”

He regretted that while the governors would want to pay, they would not be able to do so due to meagre resources available to them.

He said “But we still say we want to pay,  but the issue is the ability to pay.

“If we say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formulae will work and I don’t know how we can get a solution to the issue.

“We are paying N18,000 (as minimum wage today), but when the President assumed office, about 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay.

“So, now you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt (if we pay). So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously.

“While other people are saying that governors are riding jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“Like Lagos that is paying about N7bn as salaries; if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13bn.

“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.”

“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 (as well).

“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers State 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 states ration their salaries while some others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see  and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel costs.

“Some say 70 per cent for personnel cost and 30 per cent for capital projects and yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.”

He said it was wrong to use the price of crude oil in the international market to determine the minimum wage.

Yari said, “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.

“It is the same labour that is pushing for the N30,000 that will still turn around to say that the governors did not do any infrastructure and how are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries?”