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Why minimum wage must be re-negotiated, by governor

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Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari yesterday said governors, the Presidency and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) should re-negotiate the 18,000 minimum wage.

He spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, dwindling oil prices had drastically affected the revenue generation of most states, which is adversely affecting their ability to pay workers.

The governor, however, denied making statements stopping the minimum wage.

He said: “Let me make it clear to Nigerians, Governors’ Forum is not the enemy of labour. Rather, we have been working together. But what we are saying, because not only Governor Wike but also my friend in the comradeship, Adams Oshiomhole, kicked against the decision.

“Although we never said that we are going to stop the N18,000 minimum wage, we are looking at the situation in the country and the global economy.

“What we said is that when the National Assembly enacted the law of paying N18,000 minimum wage, oil was about $118 per barrel and today oil is sold for $41 per barrel.

“So, if it continues, definitely, we will find it difficult to continue. We have to sit down with labour and see how we can review, either continue or downsizing or what we are going to do. We want to find a solution because we have to be realistic that we have so many things to touch. There is infrastructure deficit, there is need for security, there are other things, such as social lives of our people and the nation as a state.

“The receipt from federation account, some people received N400 million, N500 million. Some others received N55 million, two digits. And there are other issues.  Not even the salary, their pension is over a billion. So, how can we continue borrowing and servicing the service aspect of our expenditure, or overhead? How can we do that?

“We are telling the public that we are planning to sit down with the President and his team and the governors as a team and the experts to come out with the way forward and how we are going to handle the poor state of the economy.

“But what we have on ground now will not be realistic if it continues the way it is without having other sources from the economy and still relying on oil that is being sold for $118 dollar per barrel and now down to $41 and think that we can continue behaving or misbehaving the way we are doing, if there is anything like that.

“Therefore we are saying that we should tighten our belts. Sometime definitely, we should sit down and come out of it to find a way we are going to do it realistically or otherwise.”

On the position taken by Governors Adams Oshiomole and Nyesom Wike of Edo and Rivers states, Yari said the states were rich with industries that are raising their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

He said: “I can understand why the governor of Rivers state is speaking the way he is speaking. He thinks every place is Rivers. It is not.”

 

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