The impasse over the new minimum wage may continue longer than expected as the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says most states lack the capacity to pay.
NGF Chairman and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, disclosed this to reporters at the end of the forum’s meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said although the governors were not against a new minimum wage for workers, arriving at a new wage structure was difficult for them.
Governor Yari explained that this is because many states are currently unable to pay the existing N18,000 minimum wage.
He said, “We are very clear that we are not against any upward review of salary; we are in tandem with the NLC to get the minimum wage reviewed.”
“But the problem of the states is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today, we are struggling with the N18,000,” the governor added.
He revealed that the forum invited the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba.
The NGF chairman said this was to determine the number of states owing salaries that have paid some of the arrears since the last Paris Club refund was shared.
The NLC and the Federal Government have been embroiled in a debate over a new minimum wage for workers, which recently led to a nationwide industrial action by the labour body.
Meanwhile, state governors present at the meeting include Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Samuel Ortom (Benue), and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos).
Others are Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), and Simon Lalong (Plateau), among others.