Nigerian governors of all the 36 states, have said they can no longer afford to pay the ₦18,000 ($90) monthly minimum wage for state workers.
They announced this yesterday, on Thursday November 19, 2015 at the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja.
The governors blamed the steep fall in the price of crude oil from $126 to the current $41 per barrel.
Ayuba Wabba, President of the National Labour Congress (NLC) has already expressed opposition to the move, citing higher cost of living, “₦18,000 cannot take any worker to the bus stop”, and denouncing the “overinflated salaries'” the governors receive.
According to Vanguard, Ayuba also “warned that if the governors wanted organised labour to close down the country, labour was ready to do so.”
Read his statement:
“We reject it totally. Nigerian workers will never accept it. We all know that it is a reality that N18,000 can no longer take the workers home and cannot sustain any family. Many countries are reviewing their minimum wage upwards to meet the current realities. In Nigeria, there is even greater need to increase the minimum wage because our currency had been devalued; inflation keeps rising among others.
“What is the relation of the Nigerian currency to the Dollar or what is value of the N18,000 to the Dollar? We are going to reject the move with all our might. We are not the cause of the problem. They should think out of the box to find solution to the problem. When there was excess crude money, the workers did not benefit and so, we cannot bear the brunt. If the governors want us to close down the country, we will do that.
“What about their outrageous salaries, bloated overhead cost, inflated contracts and others? NLC is meeting tomorrow (today) on the organ of the Central Working Committee, CWC. This issue is going to feature prominently and we are going to come with a strong statement on it. Obviously we cannot bear the brunt. They governors should think how to generate revenue instead of depending on oil money and allocation from Abuja.
“The governors should know that the ₦18,000 minimum wage was not just negotiated, it was a product of a tripartite process involving the governors, employers and organised labour. It passed through the National Assembly before former President Jonathan signed it into law. If any party wants to breach or renege on such agreement, they should be prepared for the consequences.
“We know there are challenges, but the governors should face reality. The problem is the cost of governance and too many frivolities. Today, with crazy bills from electricity providers, increase in fuel price, school fees, hospital bills, and other utilities, ₦18,000 cannot take any worker to the bus stop.