NLC Accuses Governors Of Inflating Personnel Cost To Frustrate Minimum Wage Payment

The Nigerian Labour Congress has accused State Governors of deliberating inflating personnel costs to make it difficult to implement the minimum wage in their states.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba made the comment during a monitored programme on TVC News on Monday.

President, Muhammadu Bahari, had on April 18, 2019 signed the law increasing the country’s minimum wage benchmark from N18,000 to N30,000.

The law is expected to cut across all salary scales in the Nigerian public and civil service, while the implementation was supposed to be immediate.

But only a few states have implemented the law, while others have blamed non-implementation on limited resources to pay the new wage structure.

To address the issue raised by state governments that their wage bill was too high, some states conducted workers biometric and revalidation exercise.

The NLC President revealed that some state government officials were found to have inflated wage bills by adding non-existent workers for corrupt gains.

Wabba said, “In each of the States we have a Chairman and Executives of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council in the public sector.

“This is their responsibility, they have the details, they know what comes in, and they know what is paid out. They know the details and in terms of actually weeding out those that are not workers or pensioners, we have always supported the process. Therefore if there is an open process of engagement, Labour will also contribute.

“I know of many states that have done biometrics and workers participated and at the end of the day the wage bill was reduced and in most of the cases you cannot blame the workers, it is politicians that actually inflate the salary bill. They bring their own; inflate the salary bill so that is also another means of corruption in the public service.

“We are sanitising the process, but pay the worker what is due to him, what the law said. Anybody that does not implement an existing law that is backed by the constitution is illegality.

He noted that over 90 per cent of the countries across the globe respect the minimum wage.

Wabba explained that workers create wealth in the economy and should not be ignored by any state government.

The NLC Boss said, “When we are saying we are the biggest economy, that was made possible because workers create wealth. People think it (minimum wage) is only for public service.

“No, it is for the private sector also. It is a national benchmark and that is why the organised private sector when we did that investigation the employers of labour were there and that is why in every sector of the economy, they have a negotiating platform from the food industry to the manufacturing industry to the hotel industry to the construction.

“They have a negotiating platform where they will sit with their employers, negotiate and then implement. It is not only limited to public service, that is why it is a national benchmark.”