Nigerian Governors have collectively said they cannot afford to pay the new minimum wage being demanded for by organised labour.
The Nigerian Governors Forum said most states lack the capacity to pay the increase as majority were still struggling to pay the existing minimum wage.
Chairman of the Governors Forum and Zamfara State Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari, disclosed this to reporters at the end of the forum’s meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
Governor Yari said that although the governors were not against a new minimum wage for workers, arriving at a new wage structure was an uphill task for most of them.
The Governor further explained that the forum arrived at the deceision because many member states were struggling currently to pay the existing N18,000 minimum wage.
Yari explained further;
“We are very clear that we are not against any upward review of salary; we are in tandem with the NLC to get the minimum wage reviewed.
But the problem of the states is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today, we are struggling with the N18,000.”
He revealed that the membership of the forum invited the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba to attend its deliberations.
The NGF chairman said this was to determine the number of states owing salaries that have paid some of the arrears since the last Paris Club refund was shared.
The NLC and the Federal Government have been embroiled in a dispute over a new national minimum wage for workers, which recently led to a nationwide industrial action by the labour body.
The Strike was called off when the Federal Government agreed to re-convene the tripartite committee in charge of deliberations for the new minimum wage and also announce a wage soon.
The announcement seems to be a long way off however as the Governors have declared their inability to pay.