- Say N18,000 minimum wage unbearable
The 36 state governors in the country have resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to find a way out of the dwindling economy. The meeting with the President became necessary as the governors said they were not able to cope with expenditure, especially payment of salaries, because of reduction in monthly allocations as a result of the fall in oil prices.
At a meeting which ended in the early hours of Thursday at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, the governors who met under the Nigeria Governors’ Forum also gave their support to the fine of $5.2 billion imposed on MTN by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
The Chairman of the forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who read the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, said the states could no longer bear the N18, 000 minimum wage that was imposed on them when oil sold for $126 as against its present cost of $41.
The Zamfara governor said the only way out of the situation was the diversification of the economy. “We resolved that we must look at ways to enhance revenue generation and at the same time, look at ways to cut our overhead costs, especially the political office holders’ salaries and other overhead expenses.
“The situation is no longer the same when we were asked to pay N18,000 minimum wage, when oil price was $126 (per barrel) and continued paying N18,000 minimum wage when the oil is $41 and the source of government expenditure is from oil, and we have not seen prospects in the oil industry in the near future.
“We will diversify our economy in the area of agriculture and mining. But at the same time, we should understand our situation, where some of us (states) today are taking N100 million takehome (monthly allocation) and have salaries in particular of over N2billion to pay. We, therefore, agreed here to take this suggestion to NEC so that we can be able to find ways to tackle this problem.
“And we are looking at coming together to discuss with Mr. President and his team, with governors, technocrats and experts in the economy, to see how we can tackle our troubled situation. We are working harder to deal with it”, Yari said. On the fine imposed on MTN, Yari said since the telecommunication company accepted that they committed the offence and had apologised is looking for leniency, the Governors’ Forum decided to support the NCC to abide by the laws, saying that the laws of the land do not give leniency to deliberate offence to the country.