likely to pay minimum wage •List of the states
By Toba Agboola
Twenty states are likely to pay the N30,000 monthly minimum wage.
Their Governors spoke on the controversial matter after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the New Minimum Wage (Amendment) Bill into Law.
Many of the states, however, said certain conditions must be reached between the workers’ umbrella unions and the Federal Government for them to pay.
Some said they were waiting for the implementation template from the Federal Government.
Labour, which vowed not to condone non-implementation of the new wage, plans to pile pressure on the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to release the template to state governments.
The Vice Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sunday Salako, said the union would continue to put pressure on the government agency not to delay the template for the new wage to states.
He said: “Labour will not rest in the pursuit of the new minimum wage. Of course, we will mount the pressure. Once we have information on the reason for the delay, we will write to the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission. I am sure that the chairman will not want to see the other side of labour.”
According to the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, the first task before governors after their inauguration on May 29 will be to negotiate the implementation of the minimum wage.
He, however, noted that all states were not expected to pay the same amount to workers.
His words: “Each state council of the NLC will open negotiations with the state government. We’ve just conducted the state council elections. The new leadership that emerged in various states will open negotiations with state governments as their first assignment.”
Below are the states that have shown willingness to implement the new minimum wage:
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said his administration has given priority to the welfare of civil servants. That, he said, accounted for not owing its workers.
He said: “We are ready to pay N30, 000 monthly salary, because the welfare of our workers is paramount. We will pay the N30, 000.”
The governor assured workers that the new minimum wage would be implemented without any retrenchment.
Speaking at the NLC pre-May Day Symposium organised by the Kano chapter of the union, Ganduje said that his administration would not sack any worker, even as he urged the workers to reciprocate the gesture by putting in their best.
Ganduje noted: “Because of my understanding of the importance of labour and the survival of the civil servant as a formidable entity, we have introduced several emoluments to deserving workers and now this symposium as a pre-May Day programme and is the first of its kind in Nigeria.”
Zamfara State Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar promised to ensure better welfare for workers.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Publicity & Public Enlightenment, Malam Ibrahim Dosara, the governor said that any state government with the interest of workers at heart will ensure the quick implementation of the new minimum wage.
The Osun State Government said it will await the guidelines on the N30, 000 minimum wage.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Adesina Adeniyi, said that since it has already been signed into law, the state will only wait for the implementation guidelines of the minimum wage.
He said: “When the guidelines are released, the state will study, understand and eventually go into its implementation.
“Governor Gboyega Oyetola is concerned about the welfare of the people of the state, including the civil servants, and, therefore, will have no difficulty in ensuring that what is necessary is done at all times.”
The Kwara State Government also looks set for the payment of the new wage, according to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede.
Akorede recalled how the state raised a committee headed by the Head of Service (HoS), Modupe Susan, to work out the modalities and sources of revenue for payment months before the President signed the new into law.
“The committee is expected to submit its report to Governor Ahmed in the next two weeks,” the governor’s spokesman said.
In Kogi State, a similar committee was set up by the government.
“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,” the government said.
Welcoming the signing of the bill into law, the government added: “A committee was set up to look into the modalities of making compliance easy. Kogi State will work with whatever is agreed by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“As a government, we will also look inwards to ensure we put smiles on the faces of our civil servants who have shown unprecedented cooperation with our administration.”
The Niger State Government pledged to pay the new minimum wage.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello will pay the approved N30, 000 as minimum wage.
The governor’s Media and Publicity Coordinator, Jide Orintunsin, said: “The state’s workforce had a 25 per cent salary increase recently. This has placed the state higher than the former minimum wage.
“Governor Sani Bello, early this year, had assured the state’s workforce of the new minimum wage at a special session he had with organised labour. He is committed to ensuring the welfare of the workforce.”
The Delta State Government said yesterday that it was looking at the law to guide it in taking appropriate action.
“We have not read the details of the new law. When we do, we will look at our processes and, of course, Delta State is not going to be an outcast. We will look at it and take a decision,” Charles Aniagwu, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, said in Asaba, the state capital.
He said that focus should be on the ability of the organised private sector to pay the new wage structure while expressing doubts over the ability of many businesses to cope.
He said: “In my opinion, media outfits should be interested in the private sector. How many companies can afford the new minimum wage as the law also binds them?”
The governor expressed fears that the new law might force many organised private sector operators to lay off workers, a development, he noted, might be detrimental to the economy.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said he would comply with the provisions of the new law.
Wike, who spoke through his Commissioner for Information & Communications, Emma Okah, in Port Harcourt, the state capital, yesterday, said: “Rivers State Government will pay whatever is prescribed as the new minimum wage bill.”
The Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the new minimum wage would be paid to Edo workers.
Osagie was, however, silent on when the state government would commence payment.
He said, “The state government is labour friendly”.
Governor Ben Ayade had in January, agreed to pay the then proposed N30, 000 minimum wage, even before the bill was passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President.
Addressing workers who had embarked on a state-wide protest to call for the implementation of the new minimum wage law, Ayade, who was represented by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, John Ulafor, said it was the right step to take.
He said: “This is the right step to take and I wish to thank workers in the state for embarking on a peaceful protest. The new wage is workers’ right and as a worker-friendly government, we have always ensured that you get your salaries on time.
“N30, 000 is all right and the state government will stand with labour in this regard and I wish to assure you that government will ensure that the new wage sails through because it is not beyond the state government to pay.”
“Whatever we need to do extra to ensure that the Federal Government implements the new minimum wage bill for workers will be done.”
Governor Samuel Ortom promised to implement the new wage once funds are available.
The governor spoke at the JS Tarka Foundation, Makurdi, at the opening of the NLC Council Delegates’ Conference.
Ortom said: “If funds were available, workers deserved even more than N30, 000.”
The governor said that consultations would soon begin towards successful implementation of the new wage.
He, however, implored the Federal Government to review the revenue allocation formula in favour of states to facilitate the smooth implementation of the new wage.
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu urged the Federal Government to review the revenue sharing formula. He spoke at the inauguration of Sunday Adeleye as the state’s NLC chairman.
Akeredolu, who was represented by the Head of Service (HoS), Toyin Akinkuotu, said the review of the present revenue sharing formula will enable states to cope with the new increment.
He said: “We are not against the new minimum wage and if we are not against it, we are in support. Our prayer is that the federal government should look into the revenue allocation sharing formula, by giving more money to states and local governments to enable them to implement the new minimum wage.”
Speaking at the NLC Delegates’ Conference in Ado-Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi said the welfare of workers had always been his concern.
Represented by his Chief of Staff (CoS), Biodun Omoleye, the governor said his administration would pay the new minimum wage for effective and efficient service delivery.
In Imo State, the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, has not made his stand on the new wage know, there heightening the fears of the workers.
His media aide Chibuike Onyeukwu told The Nation that the governor-elect will only state his position on the matter after he has formally taken the oath of office and assumed office as governor.
He said: “The governor-elect, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha has not assumed office yet and the issue of the minimum wage is one issue he won’t comment on until he formally assumes office after May 29.”
But the outgoing governor, Rochas Okorocha, has confirmed that the state will comply with the new salary structure.
Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Sam Onwuemeodo said: “Imo State was among the first state to pay the N18, 000.00 minimum wage and will also pay the new minimum wage.
“The governor does not joke with the welfare of the workers and will do everything possible to comply with the new minimum wage.”
Other states that have expressed willingness to pay are: Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, Oyo, Ogun, Katsina, Sokoto and Plateau.
(C) The Nation