By Onyedi Ojiabor
Governors on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have agreed to pay the N18,000 minimum wage, it was gathered last night.
The governors took the position at a meeting in Lagos.
Also yesterday, the House of Representatives gave its backing to the position of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the review of the revenue formula to free more cash for the use of the state governments.
Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Adams Oshimohole (Edo) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) attended the meeting in Ikeja.
Sources at the meeting said the ACN governors’ decision was taken after exhaustive deliberations since the ACN is running.
The source said the decision of the governors to pay the minimum wage was hinged on the ACN governors’ belief in not running foul of the National Minimum Wage Act of 2010 which makes the payment mandatory for the states of the federation.
The source said the governors said they were elected on the basis of their belief in the welfare of their people.
The governors were also said to have resolved to begin negotiations and discussions with the various labour leaders in their states on the modalities of the payment.
The House of Representatives decision, followed the consideration of a motion entitled: “Impending strike action by the organised labour over non-implementation of the N18,000 national minimum wage.”
The motion was sponsored by Hon. Peace Nnaji (Enugu State).
The House specifically adopted a prayer which urged the Executive arm of government to initiate without further delay a new revenue allocation formula that would be in favour of local governments and states.
The review of the existing revenue allocation formula in favour of states and local governments was one of the conditions state governors canvassed before they could implement the N18,000 minimum wage.
The governors also sought the removal of fuel subsidy.
The prayer for a new revenue allocation formula came as an amendment to the main prayers.
It was proposed by Hon. Manir Dan’agundi (Kano State).
Curiously, another amendment which urged governors to pay the stipulated N18,000 minimum wage pending the time a new revenue allocation formula would come on stream was roundly defeated.
Another amendment, which sought to compel governors to comply with the new minimum wage since it was already the law of the land was also killed.
A point of Order raised by Hon. Abubakar Momoh ( Edo ) to the effect that the N18,000 minimum wage is already a law made by the National Assembly and does not need deliberation nor domestication for it to be implemented, was upheld in principle.
A proposal by Hon. Momoh that the payment of the new minimum wage should not be tied to the removal of fuel subsidy was thrown out.
The implication of the position of the lawmakers, observers said, is that the new minimum wage might be kept in the cooler until a new revenue allocation formula is negotiated and agreed upon by the three tiers of government in the country.
Nnaji had, in her lead debate noted that since the National Assembly passed the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Bill in 2011, which approved N18,000 for workers and the Bill having been assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan, there has been discordant tunes from governors over its implementation.
The lawmaker said she was aware that labour unions were threatening to embark on industrial action unless the governors accepted to pay the new minimum wage.