The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Saturday said that the Federal Government needed to address the current revenue allocation formula, to enable state governments pay the new minimum wage being requested by workers. Fayemi spoke when he received the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, in Ado-Ekiti.
He said that Ekiti, which receives one of the lowest allocations in the country, would require extra N2bn monthly to be able to pay. The governor, who noted that the N30,000 minimum wage was not a comfortable living wage for workers, said he was convinced that governors would pay if the Federal Government creates the enabling environment for them to do so.
He, however, suggested a collective approach by the labour leadership, the government and the general public. Fayemi said the issue of affordability was key in paying the proposed minimum wage
The governor said Ekiti had always been paying above the national minimum wage as the state was paying N19, 350 as against the N18,000 minimum. He, however, said that for Ekiti State to pay the new N30,000 minimum wage, it would need N2 billion in addition to the current wage bill of N2.6 billion, totalling N4.6bn.
This, he said, was the case in many other states, disclosing that Ekiti earns averagely N3bn federal allocation monthly. “I am not holding brief for the governors because I am the youngest among them, having only come to office barely a month ago.
”So, I cannot speak on what has transpired in your negotiation in the course of this tripartite committee,” he said Fayemi said if he were, however, to put himself in the shoes of his colleagues, given the fact on ground in Ekiti, he believes it was only a question of affordability, ability to pay.
“As long as we have the revenue allocation formula that we have in the country, even in states where you have willing partners and comrades that are not going to contend the N30,000 figure, if nothing is done about current revenue allocation, this will be tough on states.
“In fact, this N30,000 is not even enough, Mr President, I don’t know anyone who can really live comfortably on N30,000, let alone the N18,000 we are currently paying. “I think we need a collective approach to this beyond the game of numbers. “The workers are very critical components to the productive base of our country, because it is the human capital and it has to be motivated human capital. “It has to be an enthusiastic human capital that can deliver the goods to the populace,” Fayemi said.
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