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Minimum wage: States’ll go bankrupt if we pay N30,000 – Govs

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Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have said states cannot afford to pay the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.

The NGF chairman and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, told newsmen that it was impractical to implement the N30,000 minimum without states going into bankruptcy.

He said the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the Federal Government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula or to downsize workforce.

The governors who met, yesterday in Abuja, have therefore, resolved to put together another committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to work out another formula to address the issue.

The members of the committee to see President Buhari are Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).

President Buhari last week Tuesday received the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage.

The committee which recommended N30,000 as the new national minimum wage also submitted a draft bill that will be sent to the National Assembly. Organised Labour has given December date as deadline for all processes leading to the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage else they will embark on another round of strike.

But speaking after an emergency meeting of the NGF, Governor Yari: “We have seen what has been presented to the president by the committee; as a member of the committee, Kebbi governor said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late. I am surprised how you can do this without the input of the states, because the states are the key stakeholders in this business. So, a situation whereby our report is not taken or considered by the tripartite committee to present to the president, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.

“But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. The N18,000 today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay; not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt. As Nigerians, we should look at the issue seriously. While other people are saying that governors are flying private jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“The issue of government overhead cost, if you put it together with personnel cost, it cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries, if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

Asked the way forward, Yari said: “We will continue to talk with Labour, let them see reasons why governors have difficulties. Some of us have Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). For instance, the money Lagos State is using to pay is not coming from Abuja. They have a way of getting their money from IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. Lagos gets money through VAT. Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot afford to pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen. One critical example is that some state ration their salaries while others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost. Some say 70 percent for personnel cost and 30 percent for capital projects, yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.

“If you are talking about oil, the price is not what it used to be. From last year to date, it is $20 less from $75 to $55. So where is the money to pay? We should not exploit this matter further. We are leaders today, tomorrow others will be there. So let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.”

When reminded that part of Labour’s grouse was that governors have refused to submit audited account, the NGF chairman said: “We have given the committee audited account of the states to guide them. But if they put the audited account for the past 10-14 years, can you get something out of it? We are going to use the report of the audited committee to make further presentation. It is the same labour that is pushing for the N30,000 that will still turn around to say that the governors did not do any infrastructure. How are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries?”

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Zamfara State partners Learn Africa

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Zamfara State government  has partnered Learn Africa Educational Development Foundation to develop education in the State. The state has received received 15 tones of book to boost educational development in the state.

The educational development company will support Zamfara State by distributing books to various schools in the State.

It would be recalled that Learn Africa is a leading educational book publishers in the country.
Learn Africa is now supporting Zamfara State with 15 tones truck load of books.

With the zeal to curtail security problem in the state, he is applying the same zeal to boost educational development in the state.

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Uduaghan felicitates with Keyamo, other ministerial nominees

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Uduaghan plans for Delta South in the senate

Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, former Governor of Delta State and Chieftain of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for transmitting his ministerial list to the National Assembly in record time. He also congratulated the ministerial nominees for making the cut from a pool of eminent party men and women who could serve in President Buhari Next Level government.

In a statement signed by his special adviser on media, Mr. Monoyo Edon, and made available to The Witness on Tuesday, Dr Uduaghan said, “for us in Delta State, Festus Keyamo‘s appointment did not come as a surprise to us. Festus has distinguished himself and has shown capacity in his previous post as spokesperson of our Presidential Campaign Council. His appointment is very welcomed to the APC family in Delta State.”

“Some of my brother former Governors and other nominees that made the cut have something tangible to contribute to the Next Level program of Mr. President. I know them and I am sure they can function creditably well with any portfolio given to them at the end of the day.”

Dr. Uduaghan was also full of praise for President Muhammadu Buhari who yielded to the masses’ pressure to name a cabinet before the Senate goes on long recess.

“President Buhari has, on several occasion showed that he listens to the masses, whom he holds their mandate so passionately. We are all happy that his cabinet would be named in a matter of days after the National Assembly successfully screens all of them. President Buhari is committed to the success and development of this country. We have seen that with the kind of persons he has chosen to serve with him in this government.

“Congratulations to all the ministerial nominees. Congratulations to our great party for doing the appropriate thing at a time Nigerians wish this government is firing on full throttle.”

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BREAKING: Buhari appoints Saraki, Akpabio, Keyamo, 40 others as ministers

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