If the words of the governors on Nigeria is anything to go by, then the country should brace up for anther industrial action by members of the organised labour following the reluctance of governors to agree to the upward review of the salaries of workers in the state civil service.
Governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum on Thursday stated that they are still finding it difficult to pay the current minimum wage of N18,000.
Though they insist that they are not against the upward review of the minimum wage in its totality, they nevertheless said the capability of most states to pay must be considered.
Governor of Zamfara State, who is also the chairman of the forum, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, disclosed this while briefing reporters after the meeting of the governors held in Abuja. National President of NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, was also at the meeting.
Yari stated that the issue was not just on agreed amount to be paid by the governors, but the “ability or resources to take care of that agreed minimum wage.”
He stressed that the forum had made it clear that the governors were not against any upward review of salaries or against the intension of the NLC to get minimum wage reviewed.
“But, the problem of state is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today, we are (still) struggling with N18,000. Some of the states are paying 35 per cent, some 50 per cent and still some states have salary arrears. So, it is not about only reviewing it but how we are going to get the resources to cater for it,” he said.
Yari added that the NLC president was invited to brief the forum on states performance in the use of London and Paris Club refunds.
Federal Government disbursed funds to states with the condition to use a larger percentage of the money to pay workers’ salaries. He said while some states had recorded progress in line with the condition they signed with the Federal Government, many states were still owing salaries.
“So, we invited the National President of NLC to give us details on how some states performed. Some other states that are not up to date, where are they.”
“So they have signed Memorandum of Understanding with the NLC at the national level and their representative in states on when they are going to overcome the issue of salary arrears. That has been done and it has been taken to the Central Bank Governor to ensure that those states were also paid,” Yari said