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Yari: Governors lack the capacity to pay new minimum wage

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Abdulaziz Yari, chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), says governors are not against the upward review of the minimum wage but they lack capacity to pay it.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) had demanded N30,000 as minimum wage but the governors proposed N20,000 while the federal government said it could afford N24,000.

Briefing journalists on the outcome of the forum’s meeting on Wednesday, Yari said the issue was not just on the agreed figure to be paid by the governors but the “ability or resources to take care of that agreed minimum wage.”

He said his colleagues made it known that they have no problem with the review of salaries but were being real.

“The problem of state is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today, we are struggling with N18,000. Some of the states are paying 35 percent, some 50 percent and still some states have salary arrears,” he said.

“So, it is not about only reviewing it but how we are going to get the resources to cater for it.”

Yari said Ayuba Wabba, national president of NLC, was invited to brief the forum on states’ performance in the use of London and Paris Club refunds which the federal government disbursed for payment of salaries.

He added that some states had recorded some progress in line with the condition they signed with the federal government but some were still owing arrears.

“So, we invited the national president of NLC to give us details on how some states performed. Some other states that are not up to date, where are they?” he said.

“So they have signed Memorandum of Understanding with the NLC at the national level and their representative in states on when they are going to overcome the issue of salary arrears.

“That has been done and it has been taken to the Central Bank Governor to ensure that those states were also paid.”


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