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Govs, Labour head for New Year showdown

Govs, Labour head for New Year showdown

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“The N22,500 was arrived at, after extensive deliberations among all 36 governors, outlining their financial capacities and liquidity, considering the economic situation of the country and the states’ other obligations to the majority of the people of their various domains.

“Governors also emphasised that N22,500 is a “baseline threshold”, meaning that any governor who can pay more than N22,500 is, therefore, free to go ahead and do so.

“Let it be known that governors have met the president twice on this matter and presented their books to buttress their point. First, a batch of state governors, led by the NGF Chairman, Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara State, in company of governors Ambode of Lagos, Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Bagudu of Kebbi attended a closed door meeting with the president, where the financial standing of six states, one each from all the geopolitical regions in the country, were shown to the president, after which, on Mr. President’s request, all the states forwarded their books, their revenues, both internally generated and their earnings from the Federation Account, along with their other sources of revenue, for examination. The president appears satisfied with the governors’ position, thus, the decision to set up a new committee.

Bello-Barkindo said there has never been a time in the country, when states embarked on a more aggressive revenue drive than they are doing today, “and this is without exception or prejudice to any state.

“To put the records straight, governors are not under any obligation, by law, to show their books to the NLC. But, they have, in their pursuit of the understanding of the union, done so, not once, but several times over, with a view to letting NLC know what they are asking for is neither realistic nor sustainable. Yet, NLC remains adamant that its will must be done, or the heavens will fall.

“The president, at his last meeting with governors (December 15, 2018) had admonished them (governors) to expect harsher economic tides from New Year, thus, validating governors’ fears that even those states that had, hitherto, looked comfortable financially, may, in the course of the new year, falter.”

Meanwhile, following the expiration of the December 31, 2018 ultimatum given the federal government to send a bill on the N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly, the organised labour, yesterday, maintained its stance to shutdown the economy.

Labour had issued the ultimatum in Lagos to persuade government in fast tracking the process enacting the minimum wage Act.

But, while laying the 2019 budget of the federal government, President Mohammadu Buhari announced that he would set up a high technical committee to guide government on the requests by the Labour regarding the minimum wage.

Featuring in a television programme on the African Independent Television channel, Peter Ozo-Eson, the Secretary General of NLC, said there was no going back.

“With the expiration of the ultimatum, today, (Monday), labour will immediately begin mobilisation towards a nationwide protest to shutdown the economy from next week,” he said.

He said Labour had been patient enough with the government, but it has become glaring that government is just dribbling it to buy time.

The NLC scribe noted that the process for a minimum wage had been concluded in accordance with ILO, hence, there was no need for any committee again.

The minimum wage of N30,000, he said, was the bench mark which no employer of labour should go below, as employers are expected to go higher depending on their financial capacity.

It would be recalled that Labour had condemned the proposed setting of high powered technical committee after a tripartite committee had completed its assignment with recommendations to the president.

Minimum wage Bill: Labour sets December 31 deadline
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