Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The 36 state governors, under the umbrella of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), yesterday said the payment of consequential adjustments of the new minimum wage will depend on the finacial standing and capacity of states .
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had last week directed the National Income and Wages Commission to forward the approved Federal Government template to state and local governments on advisory basis as, according to it, the new minimum wage act is a federal law.
The FEC, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had also directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to effect payment of the new minimum wage on or before December 31, 2019.
At their meeting in Abuja yesterday ,chairman of the NGF, Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said each state will pay based on its capacity .
Fayemi was responding to questions about reconciling NGF’s position with that of the Federal Government.
He said: “The FEC does not determine what happens in the states; states have their own state executive council and that is the highest decision-making body at the state level.
“The forum, as the representative body of the states, keenly followed what happened in the negotiations that transpired that led to that (federal government) template.
“As far as as we are concerned, the best the forum can do is to stick with what has been agreed with the states.
“States are part of the tripartite negotiations. States agreed to that N30,000 minimum wage increase. States also know that there will be consequential adjustment, but that will be determined on what happens on the state-by-state basis because there are different number of workers at state level, there are different issues at the state level.
“Every state has its own trade union joint negotiating committee and they will hold discussions with their state governments.
“You know that the day after this agreement was reached with labour I was on record and I made the position of the governors clear that, for us, this was a national minimum wage increase, not a general minimum wage review.
“Yes, that may necessitate consequential increment. We have no doubt about that but that is a matter for the states to discuss with their workers.”
While reading the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, Fayemi also said that, following a health update by the NGF secretariat, the forum commended the rapid response of the Centre for Disease Control and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to nip the August 2019 yellow fever outbreak, which broke out across parts of the country.
He said governors pledged to commit counterpart resources to strengthen mass vaccination campaigns in their respective states.
The NGF boss also stated that members commended the progress made by state governments through their Social Health Insurance authorities to enrol and provide health insurance cover for citizens across the country in the last one year, adding that state governments have registered over two million people, compared to the five million Nigerians registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme over the last 14 years.
The NGF remembered Dr. Stella Adedavoh, the physician who attended to ‘Patient 0’ during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in Lagos State.
“Dr. Adedavoh died from Ebola virus on October 21, 2014, but her memory lives on with the dream of health for all Nigerians,” Fayemi said.
On the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led ad hoc committee on excess crude account and other special accounts, Fayemi said it was a National Economic Council affair, saying that the committee should submit its report to the council on Tuesday.
Also speaking on deductions from state governments’ account over the bailout fund they collected from the Federal Government, Fayemi said that state governors have no problem with the deductions.