Anxiety in states over minimum wage

Anxiety in states over minimum wage


Less than four weeks to the expiration of the December 31 deadline by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other labour unions to states to complete all negotiations on what they will pay their workers, only Lagos, Kaduna and Kebbi states have come up with their minimum wage offers. This may trigger a fresh industrial crisis. TOBA AGBOOLA reports.

A FRESH industrial action may be looming across the country. More than 20 states are yet to commence negotiations with their state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as per the N30,000 minimum wage approved by the Federal Government. The labour, last week, said of the three states that had released their minimum wage offers to workers, only that of Lagos State was accepted by the union. Specifically, labour claimed that some governors deliberately twisted the process to short-change workers. The Secretary of the  Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), Comrade Alade Lawal,  accused governors of the states which were yet to begin negotiations of deliberately delaying the process to achieve motives yet to be ascertained. He said: “For now, negotiations are moving on but not at the pace we want. Only Lagos State has completed negotiations.”

Oyo State

The Oyo State Government is yet to decide on whether it can pay the new minimum wage, the Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, said last week. He said the state government and workers had decided to make consultations which outcome would soon be made public. Adisa, in a statement, said the wage bill of workers in the state increased by N1 billion shortly after the governorship election of March 9, a development that shot up the wage bill to about N5.2 billion. “Between March 10, when we were declared winner of the election, and May 29, when we eventually got into office, the wage bill of Oyo State increased by N1billion but we have been paying it,” he had said. Also, the Chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYIRS), Aremo John Adeleke, recently said the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) rose to about N2.7 billion in the month of October. Adeleke said from the average of about N1.2 billion monthly inherited from the last administration, the sudden rise followed the efforts of the Makinde-led administration in blocking leakages and ensure a continuous rise in the IGR to help the state depend less on federal allocation.

KOGI

In Kogi, at a recent meeting Governor Yahaya Bello held with leaders of organised labour in the state, he told them that if states such as Katsina, Zamfara and Niger could pay the minimum, why wouldn’t Kogi pay. The governor, while reacting to the signing of the N30,000 Minimum Wage Bill, said: “Laws are made to be obeyed and we are sure the Federal Government will make it convenient for states to pay the new minimum wage.” At the moment, the monthly wage bill of workers in the state government employ is within the region of about N2.5 billion. The monthly allocation from the FAAC to the state hovers between N2.5 billion and N2.6 billion, while the state’s IGR monthly is about N1.3 billion. Kogi took a bailout of N50.8 billion to offset salaries owed workers. Until recently, when the situation of salaries was largely addressed following the release of the bailout funds, Kogi had challenges in paying salaries even at N18,000 minimum wage.

OGUN

The former administration in Ogun State put the wage bill at N9 billion, while the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) was N7 billion. However, Governor Dapo

Abiodun in June hinted that the state’s wage bill stood at N7 billion. He equally said his government had recorded “unprecedented increase” in IGR, but kept the figure close to his chest. Recently, the governor assured workers that his administration would give the implementation of the new minimum wage serious and positive consideration. The organised labour in the state had appealed to the governor to expedite action on the implementation of the new wage.

KADUNA

The Kaduna State Government is one of the first to agree to pay the new minimum wage, and started paying in September. Many local governments in the state have also keyed into the initiative and have started implementing the new minimum wage. Its Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, explained that Governor Nasir El-Rufai intended to strengthen the public service and its capacity to deliver quality and responsive service, hence, the implementation of the new wage structure. The Executive Chairman of Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS), Dr. Said Abubakar,  recently announced that the state generated N30.3 billion in 10 months.The state government said paying the new wage and consequential adjustments would increase the wage bill by 33 per cent, giving them a gross monthly salary outlay of N3.759 billion from N2.827 billion.

NASARAWA

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State was reported to have promised to commence the process for the implementation of the N30,000 wage. He disclosed at a two-day retreat for political appointees in Akwanga, that an agreement had been reached on the consequential adjustment for workers on grade levels 7 to 17, and the state would soon commence the process of implementation. Governor Sule said he had sworn to obey laws as a governor, adding that the N30,000 minimum wage is a law in the country that must be obeyed. He, however, described Nasarawa as being among the most disadvantaged in terms of federal subvention and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

KATSINA

In Katsina State, the government has constituted a negotiating committee on the minimum wage, under the leadership of the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa, to within three weeks report back to government with recommendations on its implementation. Governor Aminu Masari, during its inauguration, urged the members to ensure they made recommendations in accordance with the resources available. The committee has since its inauguration met twice and has the Kaduna, Jigawa and Lagos salary scales as guide towards their recommendations. Currently, the state government supports most of its local governments to pay salaries and wages. On revenue generation, the chairman of the state revenue board, Aminu Abdulmumini, said it generated N6.3billion from January to September this year, adding, that their target is N8.1billion for 2019.

BAUCHI

The Bauchi State Government has continued to remain silent over its stand on the implementation of the minimum wage. The government is currently verifying the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of its civil servants to fish out ghost workers on government’s payroll. The organised labour in the state last week submitted a letter demanding the state government to commence negotiations on the adjustment to the implementation of the new wage.

Read Also: Doctors reject new minimum wage

 

PLATEAU

Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has made it clear at many foa that his administration would pay the minimum wage despite shortfalls in revenue. Currently, Plateau is paying N18,000 as minimum wage according to the Head of Service, Izam Azi, who also said the state government had set up a 12-man committee to negotiate with organised labour, with a view to coming out with modalities for implementation in the state.Plateau State Head of Service, Izam Azi, had in May said the state would require N2 billion monthly to meet the N30, 000 minimum wage.

EDO

The Edo State government says it is ready to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.  Governor Godwin Obaseki had during the budget presentation at the state House of Assembly voted N34billion for workers’ welfare, saying  workers’ welfare got the lion’s share of the budget due to government’s commitment to implementing the new minimum wage. The media aide to the governor, Crusoe Osagie, said the state government had said it would pay the N30,000 minimum wage even before Federal Government rounded up negotiations.

RIVERS

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike at a function early this year said the state government would pay the new minimum wage as soon as it receives official transmission from the Federal Government. The government is however yet to implement the new minimum wage as confirmed by some state civil servants  in the state. A source from Government House said the governor would implement the new wage as soon as the transmission is received. Information obtained from FAAC shows that Rivers State receives a monthly allocation of N14.7 billion from the federation account. The state government spends N6billion monthly on wage bill. Salaries for civil servants gulp N5 billion monthly while pension allowances take N1billion, bringing the figure to N6 billion. The state government raked in N112.78billion in 2018 as IGR. A breakdown shows that the state’s monthly IGR stands between N7.5 billion and N8.5billion. Governor Wike recently directed the state IGR board to raise the monthly IGR to N10billion.

 KANO

The Kano State government says it will pay the new minimum wage with an additional N600, making it a total of N30,600 to the state civil servants. The state’s Head of Service, Dr. Kabir Shehu, said an agreement had been reached already on the implementation with regard to civil servants on grade levels 1 to 6, saying negotiation was on concerning workers on grade levels 7 to 17. He added that the state was financially capable of implementing the new salary structure, noting that it would not amount to retrenchment, or laying off of workers.



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