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Govs awaiting resolutions on ideal National Minimum Wage for workers – Sule

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has said governors were not averse to the new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Suke however said the implementation of the new wage will depend more on the resolutions by the tripartite committee set up by the Presidency.

He dismissed claims that state governors were not cooperating with the Federal Government in terms of payment across board.

Prior to Sule’s personal opinion on the issue, there have been concerns in some quarters over the ability of many states to agree to and be able to pay the new minimum wage to be proposed by the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage.

The concerns became heightened when reports emerged that some governors became unsettled with the decision of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to raise the minimum wage in his state to N70,000.

But reacting to the claims, shortly after having a private meeting with the Vice President, Kashim Shettima in his office, on Wednesday, Sule, who further explained that his comment on the matter was his personal view, also said he spoke about the security situation in Nasarawa State.

The governor who said he was unaware of any state where the government was unable to pay the old minimum wage rate, stated that Nasarawa has been paying the N30,000 minimum wage since 2019 and has also implemented promotions, gratuities, and other benefits for workers.

While he explained that governors have not disagreed on matters around plans to review workers’ pays, he explained that a committee established by the federal government is working on the minimum wage, and governors are waiting for the outcome.

“We’re concerned about the welfare of the workers. In fact, we’re paying some special allowances called hazard allowance, even to our medical workers, as I’m talking to you right now. So I don’t think governors have any problem with the payment of minimum wage. I don’t speak for the governors. Our chairman, the Governor of Kwara, actually speaks for the governors and he will do that at the right time to you.

“But it is incorrect, actually, to say that governors are not interested or are not cooperating. What the governors keep saying is that there is a committee established by the federal government to work on the minimum wage.

“We are waiting for the outcome of that committee and that committee is not just looking at federal government, it’s looking at the state government and organized private sector. So by the time they provide, we don’t want to jump the gun and that’s why we continue to do that.

“You may find one or two states make certain statements, which is okay perfectly in line. Minimum is minimum, when they say minimum wage, it doesn’t mean that somebody cannot be higher than that, dependent on your own cash flow and dependent on your own position. So, I think that’s the position”, Sule said.

Speaking on the security of the state, Sule assured that the state is safe for investment and agriculture, contrary to concerns about security, citing the example of a lithium factory built by foreign investors, which took several years to complete and is now operational.

Asserting a claim that Nasarawa is the safety state in the country for agriculture and other activities, he attributed the success to improved security in the area, thanks to the construction of major roads and the establishment of a military super-camp.

To support his claim, Sule highlighted the state’s achievements in agriculture, including being number one in sesame farming, number two in yam and cassava production, and number five in rice production nationwide. He encouraged skeptics to verify these facts for themselves.

“But now coming back to the issue of security that you have mentioned, it took us a while to be able to stabilize the area. First and foremost, they had a very bad road leading to the areas where some of the bandits, kidnappers and so on were settling down.

“We now constructed a major road in the area and the federal government also constructed the major road that comes all the way from Benue into Nasarawa state, which most of the transporters from the eastern part of the country are actually using at the moment.

“We also established what you call military super-camp in the area so there is presence of the military in the area. So all those kidnappers, bandits and others have all left, we don’t have any as far as that area is concerned.

“Nasarawa State is always considered as one of the safest states to do agriculture and others things. Now, coming back to the agriculture that you have mentioned, since the past two to three years, Nasarawa State has been leading in so many areas of agriculture.

“Today, I’m happy to tell you that we are number one in sesame farming in the whole federation, nobody does more than that. We’re number two a yam production throughout the country. We are number two in cassava throughout the country and we are number five in rice production.

“So if people are not going to farms, we’ll not be achieving these kinds of numbers. These are the realities on ground, these are things that you can go and find out on your own. So as far as we are concerned, we’re not saying that there are no kidnappings in Nasarawa, from time to time you’ll find it here and there, but in Nasarawa State there is also oil drilling going on, with the oil drilling I don’t think any of you has ever heard anything about kidnapping and things like that taking place,” he said.

Speaking on his visit to the Vice President, Sule disclosed that he had met Shettima to discuss the upcoming commissioning of a lithium factory cited in the state on Friday, expressing optimism that President Bola Tinubu would be present at the event.

“I came to see him for two major issues: we’ve been doing a lot in the area of agriculture, which he has taken upon himself to ensure that things are going well, so he’s been monitoring that on his own. So from time to time we visit and we discuss on the areas of agriculture, which is of great importance to him.

“I came also to discuss about the commissioning of the lithium factory that we’re having on Friday. As you know that this Friday we’re going to commission a 4000 metric tons per day lithium processing factory, which he has always been interested in knowing the outcome of what is happening.

“So we came to discuss that and part of the preparations. In fact we’re hoping Mr President himself will be coming to commission that factory,” he said.

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