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Governors will not be bullied into paying N30,000 minimum wage, says NGF

ABDULRAZAQE Bello-Barkindo, Head of the Media and Public Affairs Department of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says Governors will not be bullied into accepting the N30,000 new national minimum wage.

Bello-Barkindo said this on a live television programme on Wednesday, accusing the organised labour of always “demanding for more money” every election period.

The tripartite committee for the review of the national minimum wage submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, recommending a new minimum wage of N30,000. A draft bill to that effect will be sent to the National Assembly for passage into law.

But the NGF spokesman said the governors will meet and decide on how much to pay as minimum wage, each according to the revenue available to him.

“The governors are going to do the rational thing, but they are not going to harken to being bullied and being told what to do or what not to do just because labour said so,” Barkindo said.

Barkindo further lambasted labour’s constant demands for wage increase without a commensurate effort to see that Nigerians who lost have their jobs still maintain a decent living.

“I challenge labour to tell me how many people that have been sacked from their jobs that are on their payroll, that they are taking care of their families’ health care issues, taking care of their children’s school fees, and helping people to live a normal life after being sacked,” he said.

“Corruption in this country is existing because labour has not found a formula to keep people secure in their jobs and out of it.

“Whenever they (organised labour) make accusations against governors, I just laugh, because these are people who don’t even think beyond going on strike. They don’t think beyond asking for more money. This is ridiculous.”

During the negotiation for a new minimum wage, the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdualaziz Yari, said the governors had agreed to increase the minimum wage from the current N18,000 to N22,500, an increase of just N4,500. But even the federal government rejected the idea.

Yari, at the time, explained that some states were finding it difficult to pay workers’ salaries even at the current minimum wage of N18,000 and that some were paying 35 or 50 per cent of salaries.

“The problem of states is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today we are struggling with N18,000. Some of the states are paying 35 per cent, some 50 per cent and still some states have salary arrears. So it is not about only reviewing it but how we are going to get the resources to cater for it,” Yari said at the time.

However, Barkindo explained that the N22,500 suggested by Governor Yari, is just a threshold that governors cannot go below, not the highest amount they are willing to pay.

“Anybody who can afford to pay more than that can pay. It’s not like that’s the only thing they are going to pay to everybody, no. Other governors who have the capacity to pay more will pay more, but nobody is going to pay more than 50 per cent of his revenue as salary for as long as these negotiations subsist.”

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