States Unable To Meet ₦60,000 Wage Demand, Say Governors

Governorship from all 36 states, convening as the Nigeria Governors Forum, have reached a consensus: the ₦60,000 minimum wage proposal is financially untenable and lacks a clear funding path.

The governors cautioned that accepting the proposal would push some states into a financial quagmire, necessitating loans to pay workers’ salaries, a situation they aim to avoid.

If the proposed minimum wage is implemented, many states would exhaust their FAAC allocations on salary payments, with no residual funds for development, the governors cautioned.

The governors made their position on thematter known in a statement on Friday by the NGF acting Director on Media and Public Affairs, Hajiya Halimah Ahmed, titled, “The forum’s stand on the N60,000 minimum wage not sustainable: NGF”.

The statement read, “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum NGF, is in agreement that a new minimum wage is due.

“The Forum also sympathises with labour unions in their push for higher wages.

“However, the Forum urges all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.

“The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it; any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

Read also: Tripartite Committee To Reach Minimum Wage Today — Uzodinma

“All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and cannot fly.

“It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes.

“In fact, a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month. We do not think this will be in the collective interest of the country, including workers.

“We appeal that all parties involved, especially the labour unions, consider all the socio-economic variables and settle for an agreement that is sustainable, durable, and fair to all other segments of the society who have legitimate claim to public resources.”

On Tuesday, the NLC and TUC, the vanguard of organised labour, decided to put their strike on hold for five days, easing tensions and creating a window of opportunity for negotiations with the government.

A two-day-old strike, which began on Monday, is the labour movement’s response to the Federal Government’s inaction on two key issues: failing to institute a new minimum wage by May 31 and neglecting to roll back the controversial electricity tariff hike.

The Federal Government, following an intensive six-hour discussion with labour leaders in Abuja on Monday night, affirmed President Tinubu’s dedication to revisiting the minimum wage, hinting at a potential increase beyond the initial N60,000 offer, in a bid to resolve the ongoing impasse.

The agreement stated: “The President of Nigeria, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is committed to establishing a National Minimum Wage higher than N60,000; and the Tripartite Committee will convene daily for the next week to finalise an agreeable National Minimum Wage.”

The organised labour also agreed to “immediately hold meetings of its organs to consider this new offer, and no worker would face victimisation as a consequence of participating in the industrial action.”

The agreements were formally endorsed by the Federal Government, with Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, affixing their signatures on behalf of the administration.

Africa Today News, New York 

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