Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is demanding the Presidency rejig the existing revenue formula before states can pay the new minimum wage of N30,000.
The governors reportedly tabled this demand at teh National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, which held in Abuja, yesterday.
A source privy to the NEC meeting said that the governors stance prompted the Federal Government to decide to take the governors request to the Council of State scheduled for next Tuesday.
“We are making progress. We will be meeting with the Council of States. The Advisory Committee is looking into the revenue sharing formula,” the source added.
Earlier, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, revealed that NEC resolved to take consultation on the new N30,000 minimum wage to the Council of State.
The emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council on Tuesday, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, had resolved to take the issue to NEC, for further deliberations.
The Federal Government had agreed with organised labour, last Tuesday, to forward an Executive Bill on minimum wage on or before January 23; to the National Assembly, to avert planned industrial action by Labour.
Organised Labour had threatened to shut down the economy on January 28, and even vote against any candidates in the forthcoming elections that refuses to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000.
While the federal government had proposed N24,000 as new minimum wage, the governors insisted on N22,500 but Labour is adamant on N30,000 which was agreed upon during the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee and submitted in the report to the President.
The Council of State consists of the president, who is the chairman; the vice-president, who is the deputy chairman, all former presidents of the Federation and all former Heads of the Government of the federation, all former chief justices of Nigeria, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives; all state governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The last time the Council of State held was 11 months ago, on February 22, 2018, to deliberate on the economy, security and 2019 elections.
Ngige told State House Correspondents, after the NEC meeting, yesterday, that government is ready to transmit it to the National Assembly in consonance with our agreement with labour that we will transmit the new bill on or before the 23rd of January.”
On governors’ insistence that N30,000 minimum wage was beyond what they could pay, the minister added: “Well, its not a question that the governors are saying that they can’t pay N30,000,.
“Discussions are still ongoing and will terminate on January 22, when we meet with the National Council of State.”
Asked if the governors are shifting ground, Ngige replied: “Governors are part of Nigeria and they are part of the government’s public sector, so, don’t disengage them or disarticulate them from the federal government; the public is the federal government and the state government and even the local government.”