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N30,000 will lead to bankruptcy – Governors tell NLC

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The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) says apart from Lagos and Rivers, no other state can afford to pay N30,000 as minimum wage.

 

Labour leaders and top government officials had arrived at the amount on the eve of a nationwide strike planned by labour.

 

The amount was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari who promised to study it and make his decision public.

 

But at an emergency meeting on minimum wage on Wednesday, governors said paying N30,000 will make states go bankrupt.

 

They, therefore, resolved to raise a fresh committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.

 

The members of the committee to meet with Buhari over the issue are governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Kaduna.

 

Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state and chairman of the NGF, said it is impossible to implement the N30,000 minimum wage without downsizing the workforce all over the country.

 

He added that the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the federal government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

 

“We have seen what has been presented to the president by the committee, as a member of the committee Kebbi governor said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late,” he said.

 

“I am surprised how you can do this without the input of the states, because the states are the key stakeholders in this business. So a situation whereby our report is not taken orconsidered by the tripartite committee to present to the president then I don’t know how the committee want us to work.

 

“But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. If we say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will come and I don’t know how we can get solution to the issue.

 

“The N18,000 of today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay, not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt.”

 

Yari also justified the affluence of governors, saying it is compulsory.

 

“As Nigerians we should look at the issue seriously. While other people are saying that governors are flying private jet and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory,” he said.

 

“The issue of government overhead cost if you put it together with personnel cost, it cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries if you say it should pay N30,000, now it wiĺl be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos state that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, this is our country, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

 

Asked the way forward, Yari said, “As for the way forward, we will continue to talk with labour, let them see reasons why governors have difficulties. Some of us have internally generated revenue (IGR). For instance, the money Lagos state is using to pay is not.

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