By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Government has resolved to convene the Council of State in order to review the nation’s federal allocation sharing formula.
The review is part of demands by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to accept the implementation of the proposed N30,000 National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers.
Newsmen gathered after the National Economic Council (NEC) presided by Yemi Osinbajo yesterday that if agreed, the proposed minimum wage will be taken care of as prescribed by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation And Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The Council of State, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as vice chairman, comprises of all State governors, all former heads of states and presidents, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), all former Chief Justices of Nigeria (CJN), President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The council is expected to meet at the presidential villa on or before 22nd of this month.
The NGF had recently canvassed for a new fiscal restructuring plan on grounds of the current economic realities in their states, which they claimed had made it difficult for them to pay salaries of workers.
Specifically, the governors had given two conditions to pay the proposed N30,000; a review of the sharing allocation from the federation account that will see them get more money or the downsizing of states workforce. They had predicated their argument on the grounds that accepting to pay the new wage, without fulfillment of the conditions, will make the states go bankrupt.
Although the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee led by the former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Ama Pepple had recommended N30,000, the Federal Government agreed to pay N24,000, while the State Governments insisted on N22,500.
A presidency source privy to the closed door deliberations at yesterday’s NEC meeting said that the federal government has decided to take the governors’ request to the Council of State for a definite resolution in the minimum wage crisis.
He said, “We are making progress. We will be meeting with the Council of State on Tuesday January 22. The governors are asking for a review of the revenue sharing formula and government is looking at that. The Minimum Wage Technical Advisory Committee that was inaugurated recently is looking into the revenue sharing formula.”
When prodded to be specific on whether the federal government has agreed to allocate more resources to the state governments, the source said that “everything is in progress.”