Governors Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State have insisted that they will neither slash workers’ salaries nor reduce their workforce in contradiction to the conditions expressed by the Nigeria Governors Forum, (NGF) on Thursday in Abuja.
The NGF, through its chairman, Abdulaziz Yari, who is the governor of Zamfara State, had told correspondents on Thursday that due to the current economic situation in Nigeria, states no longer had the wherewithal to pay their workers the minimum wage of N18,000 monthly, proposing either pay cut or retrenchment as last resort.
However, on Friday, Fayose and Abubakar begged to differ, insisting the NGF was not speaking for them.
In a statement in Ado Ekiti on Friday, Fayose said NGF’s ‘ pay cut or retrench’ suggestion was an agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It could at best be described as an agenda of the All Progressives Congress and its central government which appears clueless about revamping the Nigerian economy,” said Fayose.
He added: “I like to restate that workers remain critical stakeholders in governance in Nigeria and as such, their rights and privileges must be protected and guaranteed at all times in the spirit and letters of Nigerian constitution, particularly the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.’’
Fayose remarked that workers should not be made to pay for financial recklessness committed by some state governments in the past, asking governors and political parties who cannot effect the minimum wage to give way to more competent managers.
He asked states to cut expenses on foreign travels and huge estacodes and “look inwardly for alternative means of sourcing revenue instead of resorting to borrowing.”
Meanwhile, Jigawa State governor, Badaru Abubakar vowed that he would continue to ensure the payment of N18,000 minimum wage for the state workers.
Addressing permanent secretaries and directors in the state’s civil service at the Ahmadu Bello Hall in Dutse on Friday, Abubakar said rather than slashing salaries or retrenching, the state government would cut overheads and running cost.
“We are all aware of the shortfall in federal allocation due to sharp reduction in oil price and according to international economic analysts, the bad day for oil price may last till next two years, so we must have a measure to see how we can survive without abandoning our primary responsibility.”
Governor Abubakar also announced the cancellation of promotion examination in the state’s civil service. Instead, he said, workers will be promoted based on their performance and dedication to duty.