The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, says a review of the revenue sharing formula is still the position of the governors to enable them implement the new National Minimum Wage without hitches.
He also promised that no state would pay less than N30,000 as minimum wage.
Mr Fayemi made this position known when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
He stated that the agitation for the review of the revenue sharing formula by the governors’ forum dated right from the administration of the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We feel that it’s time for the revenue sharing formula to change and we have made a representation to the President and Commander-in-Chief not just under the Buhari administration.
”This has been an ongoing agitation that started way back since the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo it continued on the President Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan.
”So, it’s not just something that has been brought out under President Buhari,” he said.
The governor revealed that already the forum had presented its position on the proposed review of the revenue sharing formula to Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for possible consideration.
He said: ”You also know that there is a process to this. The process is that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, which has the responsibility for this would do its own due diligence, consult widely with critical stakeholders.
”We have also made available our own representation to RMAFC.
”Every state has a representative at RMAFC as you know and only last week, RMAFC held a retreat on this and other matters and I believe they will communicate the position.
”Now that we have a full fledged RMAFC in place with a Chairman and other members appointed, it is our expectation that this would be taken up by RMAFC with Mr President in a manner that we have taken it up.
”Whether that would affect negotiation for the minimum wage, I can tell you no. Minimum wage is a law.
”But as I have always said to you, a national minimum wage act is not a general minimum wage review. They are two separate things.”
Mr Fayemi, however, maintained that governors were committed to the minimum wage act, promising that no state would pay anything less than the approved N30,000.
The governor, however, stated that the consequential adjustment may not necessarily end up being the same among the States.
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”Some of us have started paying N30, 000 as you may be aware, others want negotiations on the consequential adjustment to end before they start paying the minimum wage.
”And as you may be aware, what has happened so far is that the federal government has agreed a percentage of consequential adjustment with labour.
”What is happening currently in states and majority of our states have started that negotiation, which is to agree on what that consequential adjustment would be in the state.
”I have also said to many people who have asked me, fingers are not equal at the level of the states.
”So, consequential adjustment may not necessarily end up being the same, it will be different from state to state.
”But I can assure Nigerians that no state is going to pay anything less than N30, 000,” he added.
On his membership of the committee set up to reconcile the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Mr Fayemi said himself and Governor Aminu Masari were selected to represent the Governors’ forum in the committee.
He disclosed that the committee had briefed President Buhari on its mission and activities so far.
”We already had preliminary discussions with both parties and we know that they are both desirous of peace in Kano. We have also briefed Mr. President on the mission of this body.
”It is not a federal government body I must say that but the federal government that is Mr President is not averse to anything that could assist in ensuring that there is peace in one or the most political states in our country.
”Anything to avoid a volatile situation that may result in an unfortunate development is not wanted and it is our expectation that given the positive response from both His Excellency the governor, Dr. Ganduje and the Emir of Kano, we would come to a resolution of the problem,” he said.
Mr Fayemi further revealed that the governors’ forum had taken steps towards addressing the political crisis involving the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo.
He said: ”I can assure you that we are fully seized of what is happening in Edo State and at the level of the party governors’ forum, we have engaged both parties, we hosted both parties, we appealed to them and their supporters.
”We have taken steps and we are still taking steps to ensure that peace reigns in Edo but that is not the matter for the Nigeria Governors Forum, its more of a (party) political issue but we are involved in that at the level of the party.”