Labour Challenges State Govts: ‘Cut Down on Frivolities,’ Can Pay More Than N60,000

Organised Labour has rebuffed the assertion by state governors, represented by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), that they cannot afford the proposed N60,000 minimum wage, cautioning them against leading the country into a monumental crisis.

The governors had dismissed the N60,000 figure proposed by the federal government as unrealistic, stating that many states would exhaust their monthly allocations from the federation account to meet workers’ salaries.

In response, the Head of Information and Public Affairs at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Benson Upah, refuted the governors’ claims, highlighting that allocations from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) had significantly increased from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion.

Upah emphasized that this increase in revenue capacitates the states to pay more than N60,000 as a minimum wage.

Upah stated, ”The governors’ claim that they cannot afford to pay N60,000 as a minimum wage is unfounded, as FAAC allocations have substantially grown from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion, enriching the governments at the expense of the people.

Expressing concern over the timing and substance of the governors’ statement, Upah continued, ”The Nigeria Governors Forum’s assertion, made in the midst of ongoing negotiations, reflects bad faith and is in poor taste. To meet the minimum wage requirement, governments must curtail extravagant spending, combat corruption, and prioritize workers’ welfare.

”It is crucial to clarify that a national minimum wage is distinct from varying pay structures across states. It serves as a baseline to protect vulnerable workers and the impoverished.

”The current economic landscape, marked by fuel subsidy removal, currency devaluation, and skyrocketing inflation, underscores the urgency of addressing workers’ welfare. The disparity between the minimum wage and the cost of living poses severe risks to both the workforce and the national economy.

”Labour urges the governors to reconsider their stance and avert an impending crisis that could jeopardize the nation’s stability.”