NGF says states can’t pay any new minimum wage

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The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that it is not opposed to any upward review of the minimum wage but that states lack the capacity to pay even the current N18, 000.

Chairman of the NGF and governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari Zamfara, said this while briefing journalists in after the meeting of the governors held in Abuja.

Yari who was accompanied by the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Ayuba Wabba said the issue was not just on agreed figure to be paid by the governors, but the “ability or resources to take care of that agreed minimum wage.”

He said Wabba was invited to brief the forum on states’ performance in the utilization of the London and Paris Club refunds.

The federal government disbursed the fund to states with the condition to use a larger percentage of the money to pay workers’ salaries.

He said while some states had recorded some progress in line with the condition they signed with the federal government, others were still owing arrears.

“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 they are.

“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,” he said.

Yari said the NGF had made it clear that the governors were not against any upward review of salaries or against 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,” said Yari.

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