Governors of the 36 states of the federation rose from an emergency meeting it held over the new minimum wage on Tuesday, announcing that it could only pay the sum of N22,500.
This amount is against the N30,000 demanded by the labour unions in the country led by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
The unions said that was the amount agreed on by the tripartite committee set up by the government to consider the appropriate amount for the minimum wage.
It also stated that failure to implement the N30,000 by the government would lead to an indefinite strike which has already been slated to commence on November 6.
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But announcing the decision of the governors on Tuesday, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State said the governors gave thought to the ability and capacity to pay.
The governors, he said also considered the need for the developmental needs in each state.
Yari’s full statement reads:
Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the National Minimum Wage after a briefing from our representatives at the Tripartite Committee, we submit as follows:
The welfare of all Nigerians is our ultimate concern. In all our States, we are concerned about the deteriorating economic situation experienced by the vulnerable segment of our population.
In agreeing to a National Minimum Wage, however, the Forum is even more concerned about development, particularly in the health, education and infrastructure spheres.
It is, therefore, our considered position that since the percentage of salaried workers is not more than five per cent of the total working population, our position must not just reflect a figure, but also a sustainable strategy based on ability and capacity to pay, as well as reflective of all our developmental needs in each State.
Afterall, Section 3 of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Act provides that “the Commission shall recommend a proposition of income growth which should be initiated for wage increase and also examined the salary structure in public and private sector with reasonable features of relativity and maximum levels which are in consonance with the national economy.”
It is in this sense that we feel strongly that our acceptable minimum wage must be done in such a way that total personnel cost does not exceed 50 per cent of the revenue available to each State.
Governors, therefore, agreed to pay a national minimum wage of N22,500.
Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum