Nigerian governors have announced that states can only afford to raise the national minimum wage from N18, 000 to N22,500 as against the N30,000 being demanded by organised labour, Punch reports.
The governors said this after an emergency meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in Abuja late on Tuesday.
This was even as the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress held nationwide peaceful protests to sensitise Nigerians to the planned national strike scheduled to begin on November 6.
The two unions are demanding N30,000 as the national minimum wage.
The Federal Government had earlier offered to pay N24, 000 as minimum wage.
Labour had declared that it would order workers to go on strike from November 6, 2018, if government refused to take a decisive action on its demand.
However, the threat of the workers was believed to have forced the governors to convene an emergency meeting.
Tuesday’s meeting of the NGF was attended by the Ministers of Labour and Productivity and that of National Planning, Senator Chris Ngige, and Senator Udoma Udoma, respectively.
Chairman of the NGF, who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulaziz Yari, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said the welfare of all Nigerians was uppermost in the minds of the governors.
He said, “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.”
He added, “After all, 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 examine the salary structure in public and private sectors 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.
“Govermors, therefore, agreed to pay a national minimum wage of N22,500.”
Among those present at the meeting were the governors of Osun, Zamfara, Ondo, Ogun, Ebonyi, Lagos, Imo, Kebbi, Ekiti, Edo, Nasarawa (Deputy) and Plateau.