We can only pay N22,500 as minimum wage – Governors tell workers

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Pic.10. From left: Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra; Abdulazizi Yari of Zamfara; Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger; and Aminu Tambwal os Sokoto State, at the National Economic Council Meeting in Abuja on Thursday (24/5/17). 02801/25/5/2017/Callistus Ewelike/BJO/NAN

As Nigerian labour centers are demanding a minimum wage of N30,000, governors of the 36 states have stated that they can only pay N22,500 as the new national minimum wage.

The governors said this Tuesday after an emergency meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, in Abuja.

The Chairman of the forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, gave the outcome of the meeting in a statement.

The governors’ stance is expected to be rejected by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, held nationwide peaceful protests to sensitise Nigerians to the planned national strike scheduled to begin on November 6 if their demands are not met.

The NLC and the TUC had earlier taken to major streets in some cities across Nigeria to protest against alleged government’s deliberate delay tactics over the payment of N30,000 national minimum wage.

The Federal Government had earlier offered to pay N24,000 as minimum wage.

In his statement, Yari was silent on how the governors would respond to a workers strike, as he issued a statement that reads thus: “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.”

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