The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) says it is not against the upward review of the minimum wage.
The chairman of the forum, Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, said this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the forum meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the issue was not just on agreed figure to be paid by the governors, but the “ability or resources to take care of that agreed minimum wage.”
Mr Yari said the forum had made it clear that the governors were not against any upward review of salaries or against the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to get minimum wage reviewed.
“But, the problem of state is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today we are struggling with N18,000. Some of the states are paying 35 per cent, some 50 per cent and still some states have salary arrears,” he said.
“So, it is not about only reviewing it but how we are going to get the resources to cater for it.”
Mr Yari added that the National President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, was invited to brief the forum on states performance in the use of London and Paris Club refunds.
The Federal Government disbursed the fund to states with the condition to use larger percentage of the money to pay workers’ salaries.
He said while some states had recorded some progress in line with the condition they signed with the Federal Government, others were still owing arrears.
“So, we invited the National President of NLC to give us details on how some states performed. Some other states that are not up to date, where are they.
“So they have signed Memorandum of Understanding with the NLC at the national level and their representative in states on when they are going to overcome the issue of salary arrears.
“That has been done and it has been taken to the Central Bank Governor to ensure that those states were also paid.”
Mr Yari also disclosed that an update was received from the NGF Secretariat on Polio and Primary Healthcare Under One Roof.
He said governors expressed commitment to facilitate the development of a minimum package and investment plan for State Primary Healthcare Boards.
He added that observations were raised about the issue of PHC, including concern that the function of the local governments was being taken away.
“It was made clear by some governors that the PHC has nothing to do with the national, that it is just a domestic issue of local governments.
“Those issues were raised, debated and we are going to put a memo in place to the National Economic Council so that it can be discussed.”
Mr Yari also said the forum received briefing on the forthcoming 24th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) from Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, the Chief Executive Officer of the NES Group.
“Memebers commended the group for upholding the public-private dialogue and assured the team of the full participation of states as the summit will help align government policies and programmes with the needs of the private sector.”
Mr Yari added that the forum also took far reaching decisions on the state of security in the country, adding that the decisions would be channelled to the right quarters for appropriate actions.
The governors present at the 8th meeting included the new Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi, and his counterparts from Kebbi, Kaduna, Lagos, Benue, Niger, Adamawa, Plateau, and Kogi States. (NAN)