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N60,000 minimum wage can’t fly – governors

GOVERNORS across Nigeria’s 36 states have expressed their opposition to the proposed N60,000 minimum wage by the federal government.

The governors rejected the proposal in a statement by the director, media and public affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Halimah Salihu Ahmed, on Friday, June 7.

The ICIR reported that organised labour, consisting of  the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had rejected the federal government’s N60, 000 offer as minimum wage.

The rejection resulted from the failure of the federal government to agree with the union’s N615, 000 demand.

The workers embarked on a strike which started on Monday, June 3 and relaxed on the following day.

The suspension of the industrial action was at the heel of the resolution reached between the federal government representatives and the labour after a six-hour meeting on Monday evening, June 3, in Abuja.

The government agreed to improve the minimum wage offer beyond the initial N60,000, with President Tinubu ordering the Finance Minister, Wale Edun to prepare a template for the workers minimum wage.

But the governors, in a statement released on Friday, said the initial N60,000 was not sustainable, arguing that if implemented, they would spend all the allocations they get from the federal government paying salaries with nothing left for developmental projects.

The statement reads in part, “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is in agreement that a new minimum wage is due. The Forum also sympathises with labour unions in their push for higher wages.

“However, the forum urges all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.

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“The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it; any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.




     

     

    “All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and can not fly. It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes.”

    The governors also argued that if implemented, some states would end up borrowing to pay workers every month. 

    They, therefore, appealed to the government and the organised labour to consider all the socioeconomic variables and settle for an agreement that is sustainable, durable, and fair to all other segments of the society who have legitimate claim to public resources.

    The ICIR reports that st least two states, Lagos and Edo, are already paying N70,000 as minimum wage, a development which the Governors Forum failed to reference.

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    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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