At an emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night, Nigerian governors gave two options available in order for the states to be able to afford the proposed N30,000 minimum wage. The two options are: For some workers to be sacked or for the FG to give states an increased percentage from the national revenue allocation formula.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Gov. Abdulaziz Yari: “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 labor 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.“
Yari said that the Tripartite Committee did not consider the submission made by the governors who had earlier stated that they could only afford to pay N22,500 as minimum wage. “I am surprised. How can you do this without the input of the states because the states are the key stakeholders in this business?” he said.
Quote: “We still say we want to pay, but the issue is the ability to pay. We are paying N18,000 (as minimum wage today), but when the President assumed office, about 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay. While other people are saying that governors are riding jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.”
Yari stated that the governors’ forum will continue to dialogue with workers to get them to see the difficulties they are facing.
Bottom Line: Yari seems to think it is a matter of necessity for him and other governors to live in affluence while workers are either sacked or federal government doles out more money to the states. If history is any guide, the recklessness of the governors would not change with any of those options. A lot of the waste in the system can be directly linked to the leadership in the states. In truth, any of the two options proffered by the governors are not sustainable solutions. Asking for more money without conditions or accepting responsibilities is a path expected to lead to failure. This is why a conversation on restructuring needs to be had.