Ekiti Governor Advocates for Fiscal Federalism in Minimum Wage Talks

Taiwo Ajayi
3 Min Read
Ekiti Governor Advocates for Fiscal Federalism in Minimum Wage Talks

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, affirmed that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) supports the approval of a living wage for Nigerian workers. Oyebanji clarified that the NGF’s primary concern is achieving fiscal federalism to ensure each state’s financial ability to pay the wage.

This statement comes amidst the ongoing conflict between organized labour and the Federal Government regarding the delay in implementing a new minimum wage. The tripartite committee established by the government recommended an N62,000 minimum wage to President Bola Tinubu, but the governors argued that many states could not afford this amount, suggesting a N57,000 benchmark instead.

The organised labour, however, rejected both recommendations, advocating for a N250,000 minimum wage during the final meeting of the tripartite committee. As President Tinubu initiated dialogues with the NGF and employers, the labour unions accused the governors of insensitivity to the workers’ plight.

Speaking at the Seventh Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria in Ado Ekiti, Oyebanji emphasized that no state intended to reduce its workforce. He stressed that states needed to determine what they could afford without leading to retrenchment.

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“The NGF is not against the living wage. No governor is against the minimum wage, but we insist it must reflect fiscal federalism, considering each state’s ability and capacity to pay,” Oyebanji said. He added, “No governor wants to retrench. If there is a minimum wage today without a concurrent increment in what we are earning, no state can pay. We aim to provide a living wage that aligns with what states receive and what benefits both states and workers.”

Oyebanji also encouraged civil servants to participate in the state’s agricultural revolution by forming cooperative societies. He assured them of support from the Ministry of Agriculture, highlighting the current initiatives such as free land clearing and the provision of inputs. “We have cleared more than 2,000 hectares across Ekiti State,” he noted.

The governor reiterated the crucial role civil servants play in the state’s growth and development, particularly in achieving the administration’s six pillars. He attributed the administration’s success to the workers’ efficiency and effectiveness.

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“I am here to associate and rejoice with you as major stakeholders in our governance. More importantly, I am here to learn from you and share in your experiences,” Oyebanji stated. He emphasized that the conference was an opportunity for mutual learning and sharing of ideas among public administration professionals.

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