The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday said paying N30,000 minimum wage as demanded by labour will make states go bankrupt.
Labour leaders and top government officials had arrived at the amount on the eve of a nationwide strike planned by labour.
The governors, therefore, resolved to raise a fresh committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.
The members of the committee to meet with Buhari over the issue are governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Kaduna.
Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state and chairman of the NGF, said it is impossible to implement the N30,000 minimum wage without downsizing the workforce all over the country.
He added that the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the federal government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.
“We have seen what has been presented to the president by the committee, as a member of the committee Kebbi governor said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late,” he said.
“I am surprised how you can do this without the input of the states, because the states are the key stakeholders in this business. So a situation whereby our report is not taken or considered by the tripartite committee to present to the president then I don’t know how the committee want us to work.
“But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. If we say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will come and I don’t know how we can get solution to the issue.
“The N18,000 of today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay, not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt.”
Yari justified the affluence of governors as ‘compulsory’, saying only Lagos State can afford to meet labour’s demands.
“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot afford to pay. So we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen. One critical example is that some state ration their salaries while some other put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and they ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost.”
“Some say 70 percent for personnel cost and 30 percent for capital projects and yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.
“If you are talking about oil, The price is not what it use to be, from last year to date, it is $20 less from $75 to $55. So where is the money to pay?
“We should not exploit this matter further we are leaders today, tomorrow others will be there. So let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.”