Governors of the 36 states of the federation have affirmed that they would not be bounded by the federal government’s template on the consequential increase in the payment of the new national minimum wage.
Recall that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had last week directed the National Income and Wages Commission to forward the approved federal government template to state and local governments on an advisory basis as, according to it, the new minimum wage law is a federal law.
But speaking at the end of a meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in Abuja on Monday, the chairman of the forum and Ekiti state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the payment of the consequential increase will depend on the capacity of each state.
Asked to reconcile NGF’s position with that of the federal government, he said: “The FEC does not determine what happens in the states; the state has their own state executive council and that is the highest decision making body at the state level.
“The forum as the representative body of the states keenly followed what happened in the negotiations that transpired that led to that (federal government) template.
“As far as we concerned, the best the forum can do is to stick with what has been agreed with the states.
“States are part of the tripartite negotiations. States agreed to that N30, 000 minimum wage increase. States also know that there will be consequential adjustment, but that will be determined on what happened on the state-by-state basis because there are a different number of workers at the state level, there are different issues at the state level.
“Every state has its own trade union joint negotiating committee and they will hold discussion with their state governments.
“You know that the day after this agreement was reached with labour, I was on record and I made the position of the governors clear, that for us, this was a national minimum wage increase, not a general minimum wage review.
“Yes, that may necessitate consequential increment. We have no doubt about that but that is a matter for the states to discuss with their workers.”
While reading the communique issued at the end of the meeting, Fayemi had also said that following a health update by the NGF Secretariat, the forum commended the rapid response of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to nip the August 2019 yellow fever outbreak which broke out across p of the country.
He said members pledged to commit counterpart resources to strengthen mass vaccination campaigns in their respective States.
The NGF boss also stated that members commended the progress made by state governments through their Social Health Insurance authorities to enrol and provide health insurance cover for citizens across the country. In the last one year.
He revealed that state governments have registered over two million people compared to the five million Nigerians registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme over the last 14 years.
The Forum remembered Dr Stella Adedavoh, the physician who attended to ‘Patient 0’ during the Ebola Outbreak in 2014 in Lagos State.
“Dr Adedavoh died from Ebola virus on 21 st October 2014, but her memory lives on with the dream of ‘Healthcare for all Nigerians,” Fayemi said.
On the Governor Nasir el-Rufai ad hoc committee on the excess crude account and other special accounts, Fayemi said it is a National Economic Council (NEC) affair, saying that the committee should submit its report to the council on Tuesday.
Also speaking on deductions from state governments account over the bailout fund they collected from the federal government, Fayemi said that state governors have no problem with the deductions, saying: “It has been deducted as far as I’m aware, from state accounts.”
By Leon Usigbe,