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New Minimum Wage: Individual states should negotiate with their workers –  S’West govs

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…As NLC proposes N794,000

 

By Bisi LAWAL

 

Governors from the South West Geopolitical Zone, have posited that individual states should negotiate with their workers as they are due for an improved welfare package because the existing national minimum wage has become unrealistic.

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, made the remarks on Thursday, on behalf of his colleagues, at the South-West Zonal Public Hearing, organised by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, TCNMW, chaired by Minister of Finance, and Coordinating Minister for Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, held on LTV Ground, Agindingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

Adeleke said that the majority of governments at the Sub−Nationals can hardly sustain an improved wages and salaries for their workers without a significant adjustment in some of the narratives in the national economy.

The Osun Governor said, “The committee on the proposed New Minimum Wage was established by the Federal Government and I was appointed to represent the Governors from the South West Geopolitical Zone.

“In all our meetings and various deliberations, one thing that the committee has been able to establish is that the workers in Nigeria are due for an improved welfare package.

“To this effect, there is a consensus for an upward review of the National Minimum Wage because the existing one has become unrealistic.

“Having said this, it has to be reiterated that the majority of the governments at the Sub−Nationals can hardly sustain an improved wages and salaries for their workers without a significant adjustment in some of the narratives in the national economy.

“I will explain this in the following ways: Review of the Revenue sharing formula: In tandem with the public outcry for the review of the sharing formula for the federation account, the time has come for the federal government to revisit the matter.

“There is an urgent need for the review of existing sharing formulas in favour of states and local governments. I call on the National Assembly through the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to urgently take decisive action to look at the ratio objectively and realistically.

“Removal of solid minerals from the exclusive list. Every state in Nigeria has been blessed with one form of natural resources or the other. There is a strong appeal to move solid minerals from exclusive to concurrent legislative list.

“As we offer opinions on minimum wage, I will admonish all workers both in the private sector and public service to improve their productivity. This is a way to ensure the sustainability of the new minimum wage when it is eventually approved.

“Our position from Osun State is that workers deserve improved wages and salaries. Osun state government is in support of a new and realistic minimum wage for all workers within the limit of the available resources in a very sustainable manner.

“While it would be desirable to see that a uniform minimum wage is agreed to on a national basis, it would amount to self-deceit to assume that states have equal ability to pay.

“To this effect, I will humbly advise that individual states would have to negotiate with their workers and agree to a realistic and sustainable minimum wage in line with the available resources.”

Recall that The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) demanded N794,000 as a new sustainable national minimum wage for workers in the South West geopolitical political zone.

Chairman of the Lagos State NLC, Mrs. Funmi Sessi made the recommendation in the memorandum submitted at the South-West, Geo-Political Zone, Public Hearings.

Sessi said the call for the review has become expedient in view of the rising cost of living across economic sectors, hence the need for an upward review of the minimum wage for Nigerian workers that is sustainable.

The unions described the stance of some governors’ inability to pay the minimum wage as “unacceptable.”

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