Minimum wage: Revenue sharing formula for review

                         Anxiety as Labour gets set for minimum wage strike

Governors seem to be making progress in their age-long battle for a new revenue formula.

The Federal Government is considering a review of the revenue allocation formula.

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) requested a review of the formula as one of the conditions for states to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage being demanded by Labour for the least paid worker.

Labour has given the Federal Government up till January 23 to send the New Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.

The 36 governors, under the aegis of the NGF, gave two conditions to pay the proposed N30, 000 – review of the allocation from the Federation Account that will make them get more money or downsizing of the workforce.

According to the governors, accepting to pay the new wage without the fulfillment of the conditions will make the states go bankrupt.

The tripartite committee on minimum wage, chaired by former Head of Service of the Federation Ms. Ama Pepple, recommended N30, 000 in their report. The Federal Government agreed to pay N24, 000 and the governors proposed N22, 500.

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To iron out the matter, the Federal Government on Tuesday summoned an emergency Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting where it was resolved that the matter should be tabled before the National Economic Council (NEC) for further deliberations.

At the end of the NEC meeting yesterday, a source disclosed that the Federal Government had decided to take the governors’ request to the National Council of State at its meeting billed for January 22.

The source said: “We are making progress. We will be meeting with the Council of State on Tuesday January 22. The governors are asking for a review of the revenue sharing formula and government is looking at that.

“The Minimum Wage Technical Advisory Committee that was inaugurated recently is looking into the revenue sharing formula.”

Asked to be categorical on whether the Federal Government had agreed to allocate more resources to the states, the source said: “Everything is in progress.”

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Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, who briefed reporters, only confirmed that the minimum wage issue was discussed during the meeting.

But Labour & Employment Minister Chris Ngige said that the Council of State will take a decision on the matter next week.

Asked what was the resolution on the controversial minimum wage, Ngige said: “Well, there is no outcome as such; it’s a work in progress. The Information minister told you the other day after the FEC that we are taking our deliberations to the National Economic Council and then we close up on the 22nd (of January) at the National Council of State. After that, we will be able to say where we are going.

“Figure, frequency of review, those that have exemption and everything about the bill so that people will know because by then, we will be ready to transmit it to the National Assembly in consonance with our agreement with labour that we will transmit the new bill on or before the 23rd of January.”

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Reminded that governors have been insisting that they cannot pay N30, 000, Dr. Ngige said: “Well it is not a question that the governors are saying that they cannot pay N30,000. Discussions are still ongoing and will terminate on 22nd (January) when we meet with the National council of state.”

On whether the governors are shifting ground, the minister said: “Governors are part of Nigeria and they are part of the government side public sector. So, don’t disengage them or disarticulate them from the Federal Government, the public is the Federal Government and the state government and even the local government.”

The Council of State meeting billed for next week consists of the President, who is the Chairman; Vice President, who is the Deputy Chairman; former presidents and Heads of State; former Chief Justices of Nigeria; President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives; governors and Attorney-General of the Federation.

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