Govs hold emergency meeting today over minimum wage

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Governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have summoned all 36 members to an emergency meeting to discuss the minimum wage and possibly take a common position.

The meeting, which is scheduled to hold in Abuja Tuesday (today), is said to be compulsory for all the 36 governors.

“In attendance will be all governors, no representation. Various stakeholders including the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige.”

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a last-minute desperate effort by the Federal Government to forestall a nationwide workers’ strike, members of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led Economic Management Team will on Tuesday(today), meet with state governors in an attempt to reach a consensus on the new national minimum wage.

The meeting is the second within 24 hours. They had met on Monday on the same issue.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who disclosed the need for Tuesday’s meeting in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of Monday’s meeting said, “We held a meeting for us to bring out modalities for us to respond to the emerging problems thrown up by the National Minimum wage Committee and we have very fruitful meeting which necessitated the governors having further meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

“We will reconvene tomorrow (Tuesday) to brief the Economic Management Team and the Vice-President and we take it up from there. The governors will meet to take a position and brief the Economic Management Team. This meeting is only for the Tripartite Committee of the government side.”

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who also spoke with reporters at the end of the meeting said while state governors were willing to pay the new minimum wage, ability to pay was key in arriving at a figure.

“The position of the governors is not very clear to some of you. We are willing to pay any amount but the issue is the capacity to pay,” he said.

Yari said the meeting discussed the proposal made by the organised labour and the figure proposed by the Federal Government. “The governors still haven’t come out with any figure. So, by tomorrow (Tuesday), we are going to discuss with our governors on the bill by the Minister of Labour and Employment to the NGF secretariat.

“We will digest it and come up with our own positions as governors because we are critical stakeholders on this issue.”

State governors who attended the meeting with Yari were Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; Osun State Governor, Rauf Aragbesola; and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

Apart from Osinbajo, others who attended the meeting from the side of the Federal Government were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma.

Others were the Head of Service to the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita; Director-General, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule; and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

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