Report from Punch says that the resolve of the governors was contrary to the demand of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) that the minimum wage must be increased to N30,000. The federal government had earlier offered to pay N24,000 as minimum wage. Labour had declared that it would order workers to go on strike from November 6, if the government refused to take a decisive action on its demand.
However, the threat of the workers was believed to have made the leadership of the governors to convene an emergency meeting. The meeting of the governors, which was held under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, was attended by the ministers of labour and productivity and that of national planning, Senator Chris Ngige and Senator Udoma Udoma, respectively.
The chairman of the NGF, who is also the governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said that the welfare of all Nigerians was the ultimate concern to the governors. His words: “Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the National Minimum Wage after a briefing from our representatives at the Tripartite Committee, we submit as follows: “The welfare of all Nigerians is our ultimate concern. In all our states, we are concerned about the deteriorating economic situation experienced by the vulnerable segment of our population. “In agreeing to a National Minimum Wage, however, the forum is even more concerned about development, particularly in the health, education and infrastructure spheres.
“It is, therefore, our considered position that since the percentage of salaried workers is not more than five percent of the total working population, our position must not just reflect a figure, but also a sustainable strategy based on ability and capacity to pay, as well as reflective of all our developmental needs in each state. “Afterall, Section 3 of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Act provides that ‘the Commission shall recommend a proposition of income growth which should be initiated for wage increase and also examined the salary structure in public and private sector with reasonable features of relativity and maximum levels which are in consonance with the national economy. “It is in this sense that we feel strongly that our acceptable minimum wage must be done in such a way that total personnel cost does not exceed 50% of the revenue available to each state.
“Governors, therefore, agreed to pay a national minimum wage of N22,500.” Meanwhile, the national president of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has insisted that there is no going back on its decision over the new minimum wage. Wabba stated this during an interview with journalists on Monday, October 30, adding that the N30,000 was a resolution arrived at in line with the negotiation procedure with convention 1 of International Labour Organisation (ILO) and in due consultation with state governors. The NLC had set November 6 for another shutdown and paralysis of the country if the federal government failed to yield to its pressing demand.