The Nigerians Governors rising from its emergency meetimg pn Wednesday night in Abija said several workers will be disengaged if they are to pay the proposed 30,000 minimum wage.
The governors also asked the Federal Government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who read the communiqué after the meeting, said a new committee would be raised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.
He said “Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the national minimum wage, governors resolved to re-strategise and put together another committee to meet with the President once again, to work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed N30.000 minimum wage which is impracticable unless labour agrees to a downsizing of the workforce all over the country or the Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.
“Members of the committee who were nominated to see the President include the governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi. Enugu and Kaduna.”
Yari said the committee did not consider the submission of the governors who had earlier said they could only afford to pay N22, 500 as minimum wage.
He said, “We have seen what has been presented to the President by the (Tripartite) Committee.
“As a member of the committee, our representative there said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late.
“I am surprised. How can you do this without the input of the states because the states are the key stakeholders in this business.
“So, a situation whereby our report was not taken or considered by the Tripartite Committee … then I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.”
He regretted that while the governors would want to pay, they would not be able to do so due to meagre resources available to them.
He said “If we say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formulae will work and I don’t know how we can get a solution to the issue.
“Like Lagos that is paying about N7bn as salaries; if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13bn.
“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.”
“For instance, the money Lagos State is using to pay is not coming from Abuja.
“They have a way of getting their money from the IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. They get money through VAT (as well).
“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers State cannot afford to pay. So we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen.
“One critical example is that some states ration their salaries while some others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel costs.
“Some say 70 per cent for personnel cost and 30 per cent for capital projects and yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.”
“He said it was wrong to use the price of crude oil in the international market to determine the minimum wage.
“Yari said, “So, let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.
It is the same labour that is pushing for the N30,000 that will still turn around to say that the governors did not do any infrastructure and how are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries?”
The federation account is currently being managed on a legal framework that allows funds to be shared under three major components – statutory allocation, Value Added Tax distribution; and allocation made under the derivation principle.
Under statutory allocation, the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent of the revenue shared; states, 26.72 per cent; and local governments, 20.60 per cent.
The framework also provides that Value Added Tax revenue be shared thus; FG, 15 per cent; states, 50 per cent; and LGs, 35 per cent.
Similarly, extra allocation is given to the oil producing states based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.