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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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BREAKING: Police Council confirms Adamu Mohammed as IGP

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Mohammed

The National Council of State and National Police Council has approved the appointment of the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed as the new IG of the Nigeria Police Force.

Adamu was confirmed at the police council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

Musiliu Smith, chairman of the police service commission, and governors of the 36 states were part of the meeting.

Mohammed was appointed in the acting capacity on January 15, 2019 following the retirement of former IGP, Ibrahim Idris.

More details later

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Ekiti Gov. Fayemi elected Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

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Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has been elected Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF.

Fayemi was chosen by a consensus after he was nominated by Nasir el-Rufai, with Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state, seconding his nomination.

Abdulaziz Yari, the immediate past chairman, announced this on Wednesday evening.

He said Fayemi was unanimously elected by the governors to lead the forum till 2021.

“Members also elected Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State as the Vice-Chairman of the forum from 2019 to 2021,” Yari said.

He explained that Tambuwal was nominated by Akinwumi Ambode, governor of Lagos State and seconded by Rotimi Akeredolu, his Ondo State counterpart.

Reading a communique at the end of the meeting, Yari said that the forum was concerned with the recent guidelines of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

The guidelines according to him sought to impose restriction on the powers of states and local governments to operate within constitutionally approved parameters.

“The new guidelines have no legal basis under the NFIU Act and are contrary to constitutional provisions which put the State Joint Local Government Account under the legislation of the state houses of assembly,” he said.

“The guidelines will also be detrimental to the interest of States and local governments by crippling programmes such as the Universal Basic Education programme, Primary Health Care Under One Roof, as well as the payment of the salaries of teachers, medical doctor and health workers among others which are primarily funded by state governments.”

On the call by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors to declare state of emergency on issue of insecurity, Yari said that they had all agreed to meet President Muhammadu Buhari for one-on-one discussion.

“The issue of security is under the mandate of Mr president, we are supporting him because he is the Commander-in-Chief and we hope to come up with solutions with him, ” he said.

In his acceptance remark, Fayemi expressed his gratitude for the confidence reposed on him by colleagues.

He pledged to build on the achievements of his predecessors and success stories of the forum.

“We will build on commitment with strong partnership with the Federal Government as federating unit and trash out issues as amicably as possible, in the over all interest of the country,” he said.

He pledged that they would represent the interests of Nigeria irrespective of their political affiliations.

“Whatever we are going to do will be in overall interest of the nation in ensuring that our states are continuously strengthened,” he said.

“Our country derives the benefit of strong, dedicated states to our citizens and the partnership with all arms of government, development partners working with us in the over all interest of Nigeria.

He commended the outgoing chairman and the secretariat for their commitment to states and Nigeria at large, TheCable reports.

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UI Alumni of Statistics department in reunion frenzy

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Plans are already in top gear as students of the Department of Statistics, University of Ibadan are set to mark the first homecoming/reunion event of past graduates of the department between June 7 and 8, 2019.

The two-day programme, which will audaciously take place at the department complex on the campus, is themed: “Homecoming event for Nation Builders and Celebration of Achievement.”

The Head of Department, Dr. Angela Chukwu, said the event is aimed at bringing together all alumni of the department to reunite and hopefully work together with the department in supporting research, creativity and to initiate an endowment fund to assist exceptional but less-privileged students of the department.

The event kicks off on June 7 with a breakfast and networking meet and exchange of pleasantries after a long time of leaving the department for greener pastures.

Afterwards, two alumni of the department, Prof. D.K. Shangodoyin, a Professor of Statistics, University of Botswana, and President, African Statistical Association; and Dr. Mohammed Tumala, Director of Statistics, Central Bank of Nigeria, will deliver keynote addresses.

The event will feature a panel discussion amongst distinguished alumni, which include Prof. Joy Nwabueze, Prof. Ethelbert Nduka, Olubusola Oyebadejo and Emmanuel John Udoh, who will all share expert opinions on the impact of statistics degrees in their various fields.

The second day of the programme, June 8, will be a social event where the department will be recognizing retired members of staff of the department and formally recognize and congratulate the newest professors in the department.

There will also be an official launch of the department’s Hall of Fame and an inauguration of the UI Statistics Department Ambassadors,” both of which will be moderated and conducted by the Head of Department.

The highlight of this home-coming event is the dinner/fund raiser ceremony at the International Conference Centre University of Ibadan.

The event is to celebrate many accomplishments of the department alumni, giving a chance to catch up on sweet memories with old classmates, lecturers and members of staff while enjoying a thrilling event in the ancient city of Ibadan.

Intending alumni of the department are urged to confirm their attendances at the event, through this GSM number: 08055441106, via sms.

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