New minimum wage: We can’t pay N30,000, governors maintain

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Abdulaziz Yari

The governors of the different states of the federation under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, have maintained their stand that they cannot afford to pay N30,000 as the new minimum wage.

They said much as they would have loved to pay the amount, the situation in different states of the country had made it impossible.

The governors spoke in reaction to the claim by the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, that the position of the governors on the new minimum wage was informed by the allegation that   they diverted the bailout funds given to them by the federal government.

The governors described the claim of the union leader as unfair.

According to the NGF’s Head, Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the states had made N22,500 a “baseline threshold.”

According to him, that meant that states that could afford more could do so.

The statement reads:  “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) wishes to make it categorically clear that the insinuations by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, through an interview granted by its Secretary General, Peter Eson, that governors are refusing to pay the N30,000 national minimum wage as demanded by NLC,  is not only mischievous, but misleading and in bad faith.

“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 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.

“To put the records straight, governors are not under any obligation, by law, to show their books to the NLC. But they have, in their pursuit of the understanding of the union, done so, not once, but several times over, with a view to letting NLC know that what they are asking for is neither realistic nor sustainable. Yet, NLC remains adamant that its will must be done, or the heavens will fall.”