Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Delta State chapter, has explained why it has not been able to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000 for workers at the local councils and for primary school teachers.
Implementation of the new wage started late last year across all tiers of government in Nigeria.
But according to the Delta State ALGON chairman, Itiako Ikpokpo, they have not been able to meet with the additional obligation in terms of wage increment for the workers as a result of financial difficulties faced at the grassroots level of governance.
Ikpokpo in a statement said the salary responsibility for local council workers and primary school teachers rests squarely on councils and not on state governments.
His explanation comes after an emergency meeting following ultimatum by the state chapter of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), primary school structure of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU).
He appealed to the workers to shelve the planned strike as ALGON was working assiduously on how to implement the new minimum wage.
Ikpokpo, who is the chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area, noted that while the new wage had been effected for local government workers on grade levels one to six, dwindling finances had hampered its implementation for workers in higher levels.
He observed that local governments were faced with acute financial challenges and would not be able to shoulder full implementation of the new minimum wage except they borrow or downsize.
The chairman warned that both options were presently not in the best interest of the councils, stating that the governor has specifically appealed against retrenchment of workers.