Minimum wage: Civil servants unsettled by governors body language

Months after the Federal Executive Council ratified the deal for full implementation of the new N30, 000 minimum wage and conclusion of negotiations on consequential adjustment of salaries of higher income earners with the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, state governments are under enormous pressure to begin implementation, with some states still struggling to comply. 

OYO

The Oyo State government is yet to decide on whether it can afford to pay the new minimum wage, the Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, told Daily Trust on Wednesday. He said the state government and workers had decided to make consultations which outcome would soon be made public. Adisa had, in a statement, recently said the wage bill of workers in the state increased by N1bn shortly after the governorship election of March 9, a development that shot up the wage bill to about N5.2bn. “Between March 10, when we were declared winner of the election, and May 29, when we eventually got into office, the wage bill of Oyo State increased by N1bn but we have been paying it,” he had said. Also, the chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYIRS), Aremo John Adeleke, recently revealed that the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) rose to about N2.7bn in the month of October. Adeleke said from the average of about N1.2bn monthly inherited from the last administration, the sudden rise followed the efforts of the Makinde administration to block leakages and ensure a continuous rise in the IGR to help the state depend less on federal allocation. 

KOGI 

In Kogi, at a recent meeting Governor Yahaya Bello held with leaders of organised labour in the state, he told them that if states such as Katsina, Zamfara and Niger could pay the minimum, why wouldn’t Kogi pay. The governor while reacting to the signing of the N30,000 minimum wage bill said, “Laws are made to be obeyed and we are sure the federal government will make it convenient for states to pay the new minimum wage.” At the moment, the monthly wage bill of workers in the state government employ is within the region of about N2.5bn. The monthly allocation from the FAAC to the state hovers between N2.5bn and N2.6bn, while the state’s IGR on monthly basis is about N1.3bn. Kogi took a bailout of N50.8bn to offset salaries owed workers. Until recently, when the situation of salaries was largely addressed following release of the bail-out funds, Kogi had challenges in paying salaries even at N18,000 minimum wage. 

OGUN 

The former administration in Ogun State put the wage bill at N9bn, while the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) was N7bn. However, Governor Dapo Abiodun in June hinted that the state’s wage bill stands at N7bn. Our correspondent learnt that the decrease in the bill was due to the absence of the cabinet. Abiodun equally said his government had recorded “unprecedented increase” in IGR, but kept the figure close to his chest. On Wednesday, the governor assured workers that his administration would give the implementation of the new minimum wage “serious and positive consideration.” The organized labour in the state had appealed to the governor to expedite action on the implementation of the new minimum wage in the state.

KADUNA

The Kaduna State government is one of the first to agree to pay the new minimum wage, and started paying in September. Many local governments in the state have also keyed into the initiative and have started implementing the new minimum wage. Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, had explained that Governor Nasir El-Rufai intends to strengthen the public service and its capacity to deliver quality and responsive public service, hence the decision to implement the new wage structure. The Executive Chairman of Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS), Dr Said Abubakar, on Thursday announced that the state generated N30.3bn in 10 months. The state government said paying the new national minimum wage and consequential adjustments would increase the wage bill by 33%, giving them a gross monthly salary outlay of N3.759bn from the current N2.827bn. 

NASARAWA 

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State was reported to have promised to commence the process for the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage in the state. He disclosed at a two-day retreat for political appointees in Akwanga, that an agreement had been reached on the consequential adjustment for workers on grade levels 7 to 17, and the state would soon commence the process of implementation. Governor Sule said he had sworn to obey laws as a governor, adding that the N30,000 minimum wage is a law in the country that must be obeyed. He however described Nasarawa as being among the most disadvantaged in terms of federal subvention and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

KATSINA

In Katsina, the state government has constituted a negotiating committee on the minimum wage under the leadership of the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa, to within three weeks report back to government with recommendations on its implementation. Governor Aminu Masari during their inauguration urged them to make sure they make recommendations in accordance with the resources available. Daily Trust Saturday investigation showed that the committee has since its inauguration met twice and has the Kaduna, Jigawa and Lagos salary scales as guide towards their recommendations. Presently, the state government supports most of its local governments to pay salaries and wages. On revenue generation, the chairman of the state revenue board, Aminu Abdulmumini, said it generated N6.3b from January to September this year, adding, “Our target is N8.1b for 2019” 

BAUCHI

The Bauchi State government has continued to remain silent over its stand on the implementation of the minimum wage. The government is currently conducting the verification of possession of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of civil servants to fish out ghost workers on government’s payroll. The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Ladan Salihu, declined response while the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media asked for time to verify and respond. The organized labour in the state had last week submitted a letter demanding the state government to commence the negotiations on the adjustment to the implementation of the new wage. Bauchi state Chairman of TUC, Comrade Muhammed Usman Misau, said, “We hope the negotiations will commence soon and we are confident that the state government would be willing to implement the new minimum wage.” 

PLATEAU

Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has made it clear in many forums that his administration would do all it takes to pay the minimum wage despite shortfall in revenue. Currently, Plateau is paying N18, 000 as minimum wage according to the Head of Service, Izam Azi, who also said the state government had on Monday set up a 12-man committee to negotiate with organised labour, with a view to coming out with modalities for implementation in the state. Plateau State Head of Service, Izam Azi, had in May said the state would require N2bn monthly to meet the N30, 000 minimum wage. 

EDO

The Edo State government says it is ready to pay the N30,000 minimum wage. Governor Godwin Obaseki had during the budget presentation at the state House of Assembly earmarked N34bn for workers’ welfare, saying workers’ welfare got the lion’s share of the budget due to government’s commitment to implementing the new minimum wage. Speaking with Daily Trust, the media aide to the governor, Crusoe Osagie, said the state government had said it would pay the N30,000 minimum wage even before FG rounded up negotiations. “Edo has been paying N25,000 as minimum wage when other states were still paying N18,000, so it will not be difficult for us as a state because we are moving from N25,000 to N30,000.” 

NIGER

The Niger State government has reiterated its commitment towards the implementation of the new minimum wage, saying provision to that effect was part of the key items in the 2020 budget. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alh Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, disclosed this in Minna. Matane said Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had received the circular on the minimum wage, adding that his administration would honour it. According to him, labour has notified the government on the issue and both labour and the office of the Head of Service are putting up a framework to commence negotiation. 

RIVERS

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike at a function early this year said the state government would pay the new minimum wage as soon as it receives official transmission from the federal government. The government is however yet to implement the new minimum wage as confirmed by some state civil servants who spoke with our correspondent. A source from Government House told our reporter that the governor would implement the new wage as soon as the transmission is received. Information obtained from FAAC shows that Rivers State receives a monthly allocation of N14.7bn from the federation account. The state government spends N6bn monthly on wage bill. Salaries for civil servants gulp N5bn monthly while pension allowances take N1bn, bringing the figure to N6bn. The state government raked in N112.78bn in 2018 as IGR. A breakdown shows that the state’s monthly IGR stands between 7.5bn and N8.5bn. Governor Wike recently directed the state IGR board to raise the monthly IGR to N10bn. 

KANO 

The Kano State government says it will pay the new minimum wage with an additional N600, making it a total of N30,600 to the state civil servants. The state’s Head of Service, Dr. Kabir Shehu, told Daily Trust Saturday that an agreement had been reached already on the implementation with regard to civil servants on grade levels 1 to 6, saying negotiation was on concerning workers on grade levels 7 to 17. He added that the state was financially capable of implementing the new salary structure, noting that it would not amount to retrenchment, or laying off of workers. Recall that on October 29, 2019, the Head of Service was reported to have disclosed that the wage bill for the state civil service would rise above N10bn monthly when the minimum wage is eventually implemented. The current wage bill of the state stands at N9.6bn monthly for the over 180,000 workers of the state. 

ENUGU

In Enugu State, the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led government said it is currently holding crucial talks with the organized labour in the state to determine the proper direction to go in paying the new minimum wage . The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chidi Aroh , told Daily Trust on phone: “The position of the government is that we are still holding discussions with the organized labour. As soon as we conclude the talks with organized labour, we will start paying. Enugu State government has always had good, cordial working relationship with the organized labour.” 

ABIA

Abia State may have signified its intention to pay the new minimum wage, but it also says it stands with the decision of the NGF, even as it is ready to sit down with labour and sort things out. The state Information Commissioner, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said, “Abia will not be left behind in the new minimum wage implementation. When other states were struggling to pay N18, 000, Abia State was paying N20, 000. So, the state government will sit down with the organised labour and agree on which category gets what, with regards to consequential adjustment in wages.” He said the Internally Generated revenue had dropped from N900m to N600m while the wage bill had consistently remains at N900m. 

BAYELSA 

In Bayelsa State, the government has expressed readiness to implement the new minimum wage. Governor Seriake Dickson during the 2019 Workers’ Day celebration told workers that what was delaying implementation was the directive and formula from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission which are in charge of bringing out the formula for the new salary structure. The governor assured the workers that the state would be among the first to effect the new salary structure once the formula is out. The Commissioner for finance, Mr. Maxwell Ibibai at the monthly Transparency Briefing early in the month disclosed that the monthly wage bill of the state now stands at N3.5 billion while Internally Generated Revenue stands at N1.3 billion. The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Bayelsa State, Comrade John Ndiomu, said the labour leadership recently received the template for the implementation and they had since written to the government to start the implementation. 

BENUE 

The Benue State government has since agreed to pay the new national minimum wage, but Governor Samuel Ortom however on different fora had appealed to the federal government to review the national sharing revenue formula upward. “Benue is in agreement with the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage recently signed into law. We will meet with labour for the implementation of the new minimum wage,” he said recently. He added that though states are willing to pay, they would however do better if the revenue sharing formula undergoes an upward review. The financial strength of the state based on the just presented 2020 budget draft to the state, showed that by the end of the third quarter of 2019, the state realised N59.8bn from various sources. 

BORNO

Governor Babagana Zulum on Thursday inaugurated a committee of government and labour officials to work out measures and advise the state government on the implementation of new national minimum wage. The committee made up 22 persons drawn from the Nigeria Labour Congress, the trade union, former heads of service and some government officials, is to work with all stakeholders, consider the financial capacity of the state and the need of workers in order to make recommendations to the government. Governor Zulum expressed appreciation to the organised labour for maintaining an excellent relationship with government.

LAGOS

In Lagos State, workers are expected to start collecting N35,000 as the minimum wage as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured. Many workers expressed their reservations about the promised package, though. They said the government had notoriety for announcing wages to the world and then underpaying workers. Some civil servants our correspondent spoke with asserted that even when other states were paying the N18,000 minimum wage, the state was paying nothing higher than N14,000. A circular from the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola on November 27, 2019 explained the new salary increase percentages as they affect levels 7-17. A worker said their expectations in terms of the exact cash that would be topping their salaries isn’t that high, as the state government was not clear on whether its announced figures were based on basic salaries or total emoluments. Lagos State is considered as one of the richest states in Nigeria, with an internally generated revenue of N35 billion monthly. It collected a total of N58.1 billion as allocation from the Federal Account Allocation Committee in the first half of 2019, and in June 2019 collected N6.082bn from FAAC. 

CROSS RIVER 

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State is yet to inaugurate a committee to look at the possibility of paying the new national minimum wage. However, the Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Labour Congress in the state had since set up a unified committee to look into the minimum wage and are impressing on the government to expedite action on it. As it looks, the state governor seems not inclined yet to the exercise even though the governor has said when other states comply he would not be left out. 

ZAMFARA 

The Zamfara State government says it would start paying the new minimum wage as soon as it gets the template for the payment from the federal government, the Director General, Press Affairs, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, told Daily Trust Saturday. “We are yet to get any information from the federal government but as soon as we get the relevant document we would start paying. If you could remember, Governor Bello Matawalle said he would not hesitate to implement the minimum wage as part of his administration’s plan to improve the welfare of the workers,” Idris said. However, the state chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress Mr Bashir Mafara said they had constituted a committee to look into the matter or negotiate with the government. “The committee would start working on the matter anytime next week. So we are on course and we are working hard to resolve the issue,” Mafara said. An official who asked for anonymity said the internally generated revenue for the state is hovering around N1.6 to N1.8 billion and the current wage bill is N 1.2 billion. 

IMO

The Chairman of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council in Imo State, Mr. Aloy Iwuanyanwu, told our correspondent that that the council is yet to open discussion with the state government on the implementation of the new minimum wage following pleas from Governor Emeka Ihedioha for some time. According to him, the joint council wrote to the governor, but he pleaded with them to give him some time in order to determine the total package payable to workers so as to determine what the state can pay. Iwuanyanwu however said the workers would not accept anything less than the federally-negotiated minimum wage. The chairman said, “We wrote to the governor and he asked us to give him two weeks to pay December salaries to enable him determine the wage bill and how to make the consequential adjustments in the minimum wage. “We are prepared to wait in as much as it will not deviate from what is acceptable at the federal level.” The same sentiment was echoed by the Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr. Austin Chilakpu, who said the congress was awaiting the response to the letter from the joint negotiating council to the state governor, adding the NLC had not much to do with the negotiations.

EBONYI 

Workers are still awaiting implementation of the new minimum wage in Ebonyi State, as it is yet to be determined by the state government. Daily Trust Saturday gathered that Governor Umahi has set up a committee on it, putting into consideration the state’s financial status as among the least in the 36 states of the federation. The governor had reiterated that he would not be first or the last to pay the new wage. 

ADAMAWA 

The Adamawa State government has commenced payment of N32,000 minimum wage to junior workers in the state. Many civil servants who spoke to our correspondent confirmed receipt of their improved salaries as promised by Governor Fintiri. However, the increment so far affects workers on grade levels 1 to 6 while those on grade levels 7 to 17 are still awaiting implementation of the new wage as government and labour leaders discuss modalities. The Head of Service, Dr. Amos Edgar, said with this development, the governor had fulfilled his promise as no civil servant in the state receives less than N32,000. He noted that salary adjustment for those on higher grade levels was being worked out as government and labour leaders discuss the consequential adjustments. The chairman, state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Emmanuel Fashe, confirmed that the NLC had been in talks with the government over the consequential adjustments while junior workers have started enjoying the new minimum wage.

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