Strong indications emerged yesterday that the controversy surrounding the payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000 is unending as governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, yesterday vowed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, cannot dictate to them what to pay.
Consequently, the governors resolved that implementation of the new minimum wage and consequential increments would be paid, based on the capacity of states.
Rising from a meeting that lasted five hours yesterday in Abuja, the governors said they would not be bound by the Federal
FEC had last Wednesday set December for take-off of implementation of the new minimum wage, though it took effect on April 18 when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill into law.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Chairman of the Forum and Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, explained that the governors took the position based on the fact that states have different numbers of workers, with varied trade unions.
According to Fayemi, the payment of the consequential increase will depend on the capacity of each state.
Asked to reconcile NGF’s position with that of the Federal Government, the NGF Chairman said: “FEC does not determine what happens in the states; states have their own state executive councils and that is the highest decision making body at the state level.
“The forum, as the representative body of the states, keenly followed what happened in the negotiations that transpired that led to that (federal government) template.
“As far as as we concerned, the best the forum can do is to stick to what has been agreed with the states.
“States are part of the tripartite negotiations. States agreed to that N30,000 minimum wage increase. States also know that there will be consequential adjustment, but that will be determined on what happened on the state-by-state basis because there are different numbers of workers at state level, there are different issues at the state level.
“Every state has its own trade union joint negotiating committee and they will hold discussions with their state governments.
“You know that the day after this agreement was reached with labour, I was on record and I made the position of the governors clear, that for us, this was a national minimum wage increase, not a general minimum wage review.
“Yes, that may necessitate consequential increment. We have no doubt about that, but that is a matter for the states to disc uss with their workers.”