The committee working on minimum wage is almost concluding negotiations on the matter while Federal Government has set a September date to roll out a new minimum wage for workers.
• Say anti-graft fight must follow due process
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja.
Governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have called for the examination of the national income in the last 14 years to enable them reach a middle ground over the contentious issue of minimum wage implementation.
The governors said they were not voted in to pay salaries only but also to provide good roads, electricity, education and other necessary amenities.
Chairman of the NGF and Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said this was part of the discussion they had on a meeting on Wednesday night.
The committee working on the minimum wage is almost concluding negotiations on the matter while Federal Government has set a September date to roll out a new minimum wage for workers.
The governors are insisting on the staggering of the implementation of the new wage if approved while the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is proposing a minimum wage of N65,000.
However, the NGF chairman said governors regretted that states have been limited to only paying of salaries and unable to take care of development responsibilities in other sectors such as health, electricity and education.
Yari said: “We have a committee of six which represented us in discussions in the committee headed by Labour minister. The committee is yet to give us the final report. When they give us the final report, for which they have our mandate to present our position, the position most likely is to look at the record of up to 14 years.
“For instance, in global practice, in your income, how much are you spending as salary so that we can start from there. They have given us interim report, that at the Federal Government level, over 82 percent is being spent on overhead which cannot move the country forward in terms of infrastructure development and development that we need now. “So, on our own part, we are saying we are going to look at how our income are trained from our final account from 14 years ago so that we can come up and stay in the middle.
“I don’t think you people voted us for only to pay salaries. You are looking for good roads, electricity, education and others. So, we can’t do magic. It’s only when we have the funds that we can do all those things.”
Yari said while governors support the present administration’s effort to curtail corruption, they were uncomfortable with some of the actions taken by the nation’s anti-corruption agencies.
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Speaking against the backdrop of the freezing of Akwa Ibom and Benue states government accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Yari told reporters that even President Muhammadu Buhari will not support the illegalities perpetrated by the agencies.
“We all support the government to fight corruption because it is endemic and has suffered the nation for over six decades. Definitely, it was part of what we discussed. What we are saying now is that we are going to support the government in terms of what it is doing to fight corruption, but due process must be respected in whatever action the agencies are going to take in the name of fighting corruption,” he declared.