Governors Threaten To Sack Workers If N30,000 Minimum Wage Comes To Fruition

So now, state governors are thinking on agreeing the 30,000 naira minimum wage demand by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), but they have another plan – to sack some civil servant.

The governors at their emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night, asked the Federal Government to also accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who read the communiqué after the meeting, said that a new committee would be raised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.

He said the committee would work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed minimum wage.

Yari said, “Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the national minimum wage, governors resolved to re-strategise and put together another committee to meet with the President once again, to work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed N30.000 minimum wage which is impracticable unless labour agrees to a downsizing of the workforce all over the country or the Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

“Members of the committee who were nominated to see the President include the governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi. Enugu and Kaduna.”

The federation account is currently being managed on a legal framework that allows funds to be shared under three major components – statutory allocation, Value Added Tax distribution; and allocation made under the derivation principle.

Under statutory allocation, the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent of the revenue shared; states, 26.72 per cent; and local governments, 20.60 per cent.

The framework also provides that Value Added Tax revenue be shared thus; FG, 15 per cent; states, 50 per cent; and LGs, 35 per cent.

Similarly, extra allocation is given to the oil producing states based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.

Yari said that he and his colleagues had seen the report of the Tripartite Committee report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The committee, which is headed by Amal Pepple, recommended N30, 000 as minimum wage.

Though the President received the report, he however said that he was still studying it.

Yari said that the committee did not consider the submission of the governors who had earlier said they could only afford to pay N22, 500 as minimum wage.

He said, “We have seen what has been presented to the President by the (Tripartite) Committee.

“As a member of the committee, our representative there said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late.

“I am surprised. How can you do this without the input of the states because the states are the key stakeholders in this business.

“So, a situation whereby our report was not taken or considered by the Tripartite Committee … then I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.”

He regretted that while the governors would want to pay, they would not be able to do so due to meagre resources available to them.

He said “But we still say we want to pay, but the issue is the ability to pay.

“If we say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will work and I don’t know how we can get a solution to the issue.

“We are paying N18,000 (as minimum wage today), but when the President assumed office, about 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay.

“So, now you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt (if we pay). So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously.

“While other people are saying that governors are riding jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“Like Lagos that is paying about N7bn as salaries; if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13bn.

“From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, this is our country; there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

He said governors would continue to dialogue with workers on the need for them (the workers) to see the difficulties they (governors) were facing.

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Minimum Wage: See What State Governors Resolved To Do

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum says it will re-strategize and dialogue with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issues associated with the proposed N30, 000 minimum wage.

To drive the process, the forum has constituted a committee to meet the president to work out a formula to quickly resolve the issues.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Zamfara, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari, told newsmen at the end of an emergency meeting of the governors on Wednesday in Abuja that payment of N30, 000 wage was impracticable.

Yari, however, said the proposed wage would be paid if labour would agree to downsizing of the workforce across the country “or Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula”.

He listed members of the committee to interface with the Presidency as governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa |bom, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kaduna.

Yari alleged that the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage did not include governors submission of N22, 500 in its proposal to Buhari “because it said that the governors’ decision came late”.

“Situation where our report was not taken or considered by the tripartite committee in the presentation to the president, then, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.

“We still said that we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. If we say no, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will work and I don’t know how we can get solution to the issue.

“Today it is N18, 000. In 2015 when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay.

“Now you say N30, 000, how many of us can pay? We will be bankrupt.

“So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously,” he said.

Yari said that if the minimum wage was pegged at N30, 000, only Lagos would be able to pay its workers.

“Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries now, if you say it should start paying N30, 000 the cost of salary will be N13 billion. “From our calculation, it is only Lagos state that will be able to pay 30,000.

“As Nigerians, this is our country, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

He added that it was the same labour leadership pushing for N30, 000 that would turn around to say that governors did not build any infrastructure “and how are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries.”

On way forward, Yari said that the governors would continue to talk with labour leaders to let them see reasons why the governors have difficulties in paying the proposed wage.

“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen.

“One critical example is that some states ration their salaries while some 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 per cent for personnel cost and 30 per cent for capital projects and yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.”

On submission of states audited account, Yari said that the account was submitted to the committee, adding that “we are going to use the report of the audited committee to make further presentation.”

He disclosed that the governors also discussed the issue of Tax for Health services and had a presentation on human capital.

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See How Much Contract FG Awarded For Main Work Of Second Niger Bridge

Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, says the Federal Government has awarded N206 billion contract for the main work on the Second Niger Bridge.

Fashola who spoke in Abuja during an interactive session with newsmen noted that the contract was awarded to Julius Berger Construction Company.

He said that the project, expected to be completed in 36 months would be funded under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).

According to him, funding the project under PIDF means that work will no longer stop on account of lack of funding.

He said that the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road projects would also be funded under PIDF.

Fashola said that the contract for the main work on the Second Niger Bridge was awarded after the completion of the four phases of the project.

He said that the early works were preliminary projects to be completed before the main work, adding that all the early works were done in the river and not visible from the existing bridge.

According to him, with the award of the main work, there will be a lot of piling works in the water and that is what people will see.

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BIG MOVE: See What Governors In Igbo States Have Done

Rochas Okorocha’s Imo State may not benefit from a move being made by governors of South-East states.

The South-East Governors Forum (SEGF) has organised a workshop for Open Governance Partnership (OGP) Desk Officers in the states of the region.

The workshop which was opened on Monday was organised in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) under its Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL)) programme in Awka.

The programme was geared towards reviewing the extent to which OGP has been implemented in the participating states.

Declaring the two-day workshop open, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, Director General of SEGF said OPG was meant to make governments in the region more inclusive, responsive and accountable.

Ortuanya said the states represented at the training programme had developed action plans and set up steering committees that were fully compliant with the co-creation principle of the OGP initiative.

He said SEGF had been providing peer-learning support and guidance to enable states in the region understand and effectively navigate the OGP process.

The director-general advised the desk officers that this was time to start implementing the commitments contained in the action plans in their various ministries, departments and agencies.

Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu have signed on while Imo has yet to join the OGP programme in the region.

According to him, the training is to deepen their understanding of the OGP initiative, provide an overview of their responsibilities.

“It will also help them to identify specific activities they need to implement to ensure that the MDAs implement relevant commitments in their state action plan,’’ he said.

He thanked the DFID-PERL for its enduring partnership with the forum.

In her address of welcome, Mrs Ucheoma Egwuatu, the Reform Manager of DFID-PERL for SEGF commended SEGF for embracing the programme.

Egwuatu observed that OGP was already operational in Kano and Jigawa states.

She also lauded the forum for facilitating the training programme within the short period of their existence, adding that the reforms would yield better results with a view to ensuring good governance.

OGP was launched in 2011 by the United Nations to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.

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Minimum Wage: Court Set Date For FG, Labour To Submit Report On Negotiations

The planned strike did not hold and the Nigeria Labour Congress is waiting on the federal government to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage.

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria, in Abuja, on Thursday ordered both the Federal Government and the organised labour to submit a report of their negotiations on the disputes over the new minimum wage by January 30, 2019.

Justice Sanusi Kado had on November 2, 2018 adjourned the case till Thursday after issuing an ex parte order stopping the strike which the labour had planned to commence on November 6.

The strike was however averted after an agreement was reached on November 5 between the labour and the Federal Government with N30,000 recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari as the new minimum wage regime.

At the resumed hearing in the case on Thursday, the three defendants – the National Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum – were absent and were also not represented by any lawyer.

But the plaintiffs – the Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami – were represented by their legal team led by Mr. Emmanuel Omonowa.

Following the absence of the defence teams in court on Thursday, Omonowa informed the judge that based on the order made by the court on November 2, negotiations on the new minimum wage were ongoing.

He, therefore, pleaded with the court to give more time to the parties in the suit to enable them to continue with the negotiations and later give a report on the negotiation efforts to the court.

“Pursuant to Order 42(1) of the National Industrial Court Rules, the court should allow parties to see the possibility of amicable settlement of the matter,” Omonowa said.

Following Omonowa’s request, Justice restated his November 2 order restraining the labour from embarking on the planned strike and warned all the parties to the suit against taking any step that cause disruptions in the case.

He then adjourned till January 30, 2019, for the parties to report to the court on whether or not they had settled amicably or would still be interested in going on with the case.

Justice Kado had on November 2, in a ruling on an ex parte application moved on behalf of the Federal Government by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, stopped the labour from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on November 6.

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This Is What President Nana Akufo-Addo Said About Nigerians Living In Ghana

Nigerians living in Ghana may now heave a sigh of relief as their interests are being protected.

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana assured Nigerians in his country of freedom to operate their businesses without harassment.

Akufo-Addo said this on Wednesday while receiving President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Envoy to Ghana, led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geofrey Onyeama.

The assurance is sequel to attacks on some Nigerian traders in Ghana in July and subsequent closure of shops owned or run by Nigerians.

He urged Nigerians to go about their normal businesses in Ghana.

“As far as the traders are concerned, the shops are re-opened; people are back to work.

“Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act will never be applicable to ECOWAS citizens; so people can get on with their normal lives.

“The Nigerian High Commissioner also played a very active role in bringing the matter to a satisfactory conclusion,” Akufo-Addo said.

The Ghanaian president also said that the two countries would continue to cooperate with each other, given their long history.

For his part, Onyeama, who corroborated Akufo-Addo’s remarks on the resolution, urged Nigerians in Ghana to return to their legitimate businesses.

“Nigerian traders had been facing some challenges, especially, in Kumasi where their shops had been locked and there were some level of harassment.

“The process of addressing that had been on-going right from the moment the problem broke out.

“The foreign Minister of Ghana came to Nigeria and made it clear that the president was determined to have this matter resolved; Nigerians should have no problem doing business in Ghana.

“During the United Nations General Assembly, President Buhari met with President Akufo-Addo and the matter has now been satisfactorily the resolved,” Onyeama said.

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Minimum Wage: Buhari Gets Some Accolades From The East

The federal government has not implemented a new minimum wage, but they have started getting praises from far and wide.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Enugu State, Comrade Virginius Nwobodo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his proactive decision in averting the intended nationwide strike.

Nwobodo made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Wednesday.

He said although the intervention and action of the government was long overdue but Buhari must still be commended for his recent action in putting an end to the issue of minimum wage.

“I must also commend the National leaders of NLC for deciding to suspend the strike since the tripartite committee had shown interest in convening and concluding their report.

“The decision to suspend the strike was the best thing the NLC leadership did because what is the essence of the strike again when our demand that prompted the planned strike had been met.

“If we had gone ahead with the strike pending the time the wage would be implemented, Nigerians will see us as insensitive to national issues and causing economic sabotage.

The Chairman said he was optimistic that the minimum wage would be fully implemented before the end of the month if the government was really sincere and interested in redeeming its image.

He, therefore, urged that the speed with which the government had employed in addressing the issue should be maintained until its full implementation.

The Chairman said there would be mechanisms to ensure full enforcement and compliance at the state level if the minimum wage should be eventually implemented.

“There will be no sacred cow when it comes to the implementation of the new minimum wage regardless of whether the state governors agree or not,” he said.

Nwobodo said workers in Enugu State were happy with NLC for its commitment at bettering the lives of workers as well as the president for wasting no time in signing the new minimum wage.

He allayed the fears of those that are skeptical that such benefit was meant for the federal workers only and not the state since the governors had proposed a different amount.

“I assure you that nothing of such will happen. All workers in Nigeria will be beneficiaries of the new minimum wage and anything aside that will be resisted,” he said.

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