President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria ( TUC ), Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama has said that state governors are insisting that they don’t have money to pay the new national minimum wage because many of them are mismanaging the resources available to them and lack the initiative of how to increase their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Kaigama who spoke at the APC national secretariat after obtaining his nomination form to contest the governorship primary in Taraba state said he believe that governors have enough money to pay whatever wage is approved by the committee currently meeting to address the issue of a new minimum wage.
He believe that if the governors minimize their expenditure and wasteful spending on so called security votes after creating problems in their states, there will be enough to pay minimum wage to the workers.
He disclosed that the national minimum wage negotiating committee were concluding their sittings and will soon make their recommendation to the government, but stressed that his government in Taraba state will not only implement the approved minimum wage, but will ensure that the welfare of workers in the state is enhanced.
He said: “The issue of minimum wage is one issue that is legitimate in Nigeria. It is expected that five years down the line, government at all levels, including employers generally are supposed to sit down and negotiate with representatives of trade unions to negotiate a new minimum wage.
“The case in point was due two years ago and we strongly believe that the dollar rate in Nigeria when this minimum wage was agreed upon was just about N150 and today, it is about N305 at official rate and the rate of inflation is very high.
“Again, people are mismanaging the little resources that we have. For governors to say that they don’t have resources to pay is something that we disagree with. We strongly believe that if you have offered yourself to serve the people, you must be able to enhance your internally generated revenue. If you don’t know who to do that, give way to those who are prepared to enhance their IGR.
“You cannot lie down in your office or in your house to wait for allocation from the federation account, while not generating your own resources. If you don’t develop the potentials that God has given you in the area of agriculture, solid minerals, tourism to have enough money.
“As far as the working class is concerned, there is no state that can say they cannot pay the minimum wage. We insist that you come with your data and we will come with our own data, and we will talk. We are at committee level and we are rounding up and making our recommendations. Some states are only mismanaging the resources.
“We are aware that some governors are only creating crisis so that they can use the money to address the security in the name if security votes. We are looking forward to the amendment of the constitution where security votes will be outlawed.
“I want to assure you that by being at the helm of affairs, Taraba state will not only pay the approved minimum wage, but also ensure that the living standard of our workers and the people taken care of. Ors will be quality representation of the people of our state.
“The governors said there is no money. The current national Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole increased the minimum wage in Edo state from N18,000 to N25,000. It is not all about generating revenue and pocketing those money, but putting the money back into governance. I want to say that once God gives me the governorship, the issue of Treasury Single Account will be made operational in Taraba state.”