Opinion: 5 Ways Governors can pay N30,000 Minimum Wage

For State Governors who say they can't afford to pay the N30,000 new Minimum Wage, here are 5 ways to help them pay.

It’s another year and another war between organised labour and government over a new Minimum Wage for workers. 

In October of 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari accepted the report of the tripartite committee which contained the agreement that workers will be paid N30,000 as minimum wage, an upgrade from the current minimum wage of N18,000.

The report of the tripartite committee arrived after plenty of back and forth between government and organised labour over a new minimum wage.

Afterwards, Buhari said he was going to transmit the report of the tripartite committee to the national assembly so that lawmakers can approve the sum of N30,000 as new minimum wage.

President Muhammdu Buhari receiving the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage from the Committee Chairman, Mrs Amal Pepple, at the State House on November 6, 2018. (
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to embark on another nationwide strike on January 8, 2019 if by that date, the report of the tripartite committee hasn’t reached the national assembly from the presidency. 

However, State Governors have made it clear they won't be able to pay N30,000 as minimum wage even if lawmakers approve the sum. 

The Governors have told anyone who cares to listen that all they can afford to pay as it stands, is N22,500. 

Here are 5 ways governors can pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 when it becomes approved, and even have some change.

Run lean governments

The workforce of most state governors isn’t commensurate with their revenues. A governor employs hundreds of aides and these aides employ hundreds of other aides. The result is an over-bloated workforce and a patronage network that drains the treasury. 

Most states deploy all they receive as federal allocation to pay salaries of civil servants and those of political appointees.

Surrender security votes to the minimum wage cause

Every state governor receives a humongous, undisclosed amount in “security votes” monthly. 

“Security votes” has become a slush fund of some sort for a host of state governors. They don’t account for this money, no one knows how much it is and the money comes in handy for the settling of political IOUs and 'the boys' during election season.

These security votes, a byword for corruption, should be funneled into the treasury to offset the minimum wage bill instead.

State governors should get creative

Take away federal allocation and most states would cease to exist as viable entities. These states exist only because of monthly handouts from Abuja.

Maybe if state governors began to look at how they can improve internal revenues by getting creative and innovative, paying N30,000 as minimum wage would no longer be an issue. 

Maybe if we can begin to run an economy that is not dependent on crude oil proceeds, paying N30,000 as minimum wage won't be something we'll lose sleep over.

Every state in Nigeria sure has a natural resource or two that it can explore for commercial purposes in tandem with the federal government.

Most states should also begin to look at how they can explore their tourism, agricultural and technological potentials. 

N30,000 as minimum wage across the states is actually doable if state governors begin to do some actual work. 

Cut down on overhead costs

When one state governor has a convoy of 40 cars and a retinue of aides who also maintain their fleet of cars at government’s expense, paying N30,000 as minimum wage will become a herculean task.

Governors also appropriate all kinds of allowances to themselves and their kitchen cabinet, with civil servants always reminded that they have to implement belt tightening measures to get by. 

Some Governors of Nigeria deliberating during one of their meetings Some Governors of Nigeria deliberating during one of their meetings Some Governors of Nigeria deliberating during one of their meetings
If state governors can cut down on how much it costs to run government, we won’t be here debating whether we can pay a miserly minimum wage sum.

Kill corruption

Most state governments are a study in corruption, wastage and grand larceny.

Most state governors would not implement the Treasury Single Account (TSA) because that would mean starving the boys.

There is so much money to steal and corner but not enough to pay hardworking civil servants?

State governors who genuinely save can afford to pay the N30,000 minimum wage. It really is as simple and straightforward as that

Written by: JUDE EGBAS

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