Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River on Friday inaugurated the state public service negotiating team for the implementation of the new minimum wage.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inauguration was performed by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, in his office on behalf of the governor.
Ayade expressed the willingness of his administration to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000.
“We are only here to negotiate the consequential adjustments that will affect salaries from Grade levels 7 to 17.
“In doing that, we carefully selected this team of technocrats and strong labour people not just from the state civil service but from the local government for the negotiations.
“In carrying out this negotiation, you must ensure that you think about the purse of the state because, in the entire South-South zone, Cross River is the only state that does not get a penny as extra revenue coming from oil”, he said.
The governor advised the team not to recommend an amount that would cause the state to start owing salaries.
Ayade reminded the team of his labour-friendly disposition, adding that, as a governor, he had never derailed from paying salaries as and when due.
He further said that the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant-General and the Auditor-General were included in the team in order to provide their books so that the team would know exactly what to negotiate on.
The terms of reference included to determine the effective date for the implementation, determine and recommend any other issue incidental to the implementation of the new wage.
NAN reports that the committee is expected to present its report on or before Jan. 31.
Speaking, Dr Chris Ekeng-Ita, the state Head of Service, who is the Chairman of the team, said the job had been made easy by the calibre of people appointed into the team.
“On the union side, they have the capacity and on the government side, we have the capacity to negotiate and amicably come to a conclusion,” he said.