The Nigeria Governors’ Forum have said that they are not elected to only pay salaries of civil servants. The governors made this known while reacting to calls for the increase of the miniumum wage being championed by various Labor unions. A minimum wage of N65, 000 has been proposed by the Labour unions.
The governors at a meeting in Abuja said asides paying salaries, they need to utilize the allocations they get and revenues they generate to provide other amenities such as good roads, electricity, education and others.
Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, who is also the Chairman of the NGF, spoke with journalists after their meeting, and said lack of funds hindered them from carrying out their responsibilities in other sectors such as health, electricity, education, roads, among others and that right now, they cannot increase the salaries of civil servants.
“We have a committee of six which represents us in discussions in the committee headed by the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige. The committee has yet to give us the final report. They have given us an interim report that at the Federal Government level, over 82 per cent is being spent on overheads which cannot move the country forward in terms of infrastructure development and development that we need now. So, on our own part, we are saying we are going to look at how our income is taken from our final account from 14 years ago so that we can come up and stay in the middle. I don’t think you people voted us only to pay salaries. You are looking for good roads, electricity, education and others. So, we can’t do magic. It’s only when we have the funds that we can do all those things.”
Reacting to Yari’s comment, the National President of the Trade Union Congress, Boboi Kaigama, said any governor that cannot implement the new salary being proposed should resign from office.
“It is not an issue of having other responsibilities. Why are they not talking of good governance, blocking of leakages? This will enable them to pay the minimum wage and deliver the dividends of democracy to their citizens.
“We are the wealth creators and we believe we are entitled to our wages which is subject to periodic review because the inflationary trend has taken its toll on the people. In fact, in the public service, no worker’s salary can last more than a week.
“We keep saying that if any governor feels he cannot pay salaries, it means he cannot govern the state and he should tender his resignation letter. We know some governors are doing extremely well in the area of IGR but we know of some others who are waiting for handouts from FAAC.” he said.