Nasarawa Workers To Enjoy Minimum Wage This Year – Gov Sule

Governor Abdullahi Sule has said that workers in Nasarawa State will begin to enjoy the new national minimum wage as from this year.

He made this known while he was guest at the Channels TV live programme ‘Politics Today’ Wednesday (1st January) evening.

According to Governor Sule, the State Government was only waiting for the report of the committee that was saddled with the responsibility of working out modalities for the implementation of the new minimum wage in the State.

Governor Abdullahi A. Sule on Politics Today

In his words: “The budget we have written is to accommodate that. We have already agreed in our budget for 2020; we have already set up a committee and it is reviewing it.

“It is not the 30,000… A lot of people misunderstand it. I don’t think any Governor is fighting 30,000 as minimum wage. It is the incremental after that. Because from 18,000 to 30,000, you are seeing an increment of roughly over 40 percent. So, can every Governor say we can afford to pay that? And that is where the issue is.

“So, for us in Nasarawa, the committee is going to review. 30,000 is sacrosanct. It is the law. We have agreed we are going to pay that. Nobody is even questioning that. There is absolutely no ambiguity about that.

“But the question is, how much are the increment after that? I think that is what every Governor is fighting with. Labour is thinking that the increment should be in equal percentages just like the former government has done. Not everyone of us is as rich and can afford as the Federal Government can.

“So that is why we set up this committee to sit down and agree with them. Once we agree with them – in fact for Nasarawa we will start it immediately the committee submits the report because it is part of our budget.”

The Nasarawa State Governor also spoke on other issues affecting the State as well as national issues.

Responding to a question about the financial status of the State and its capacity to generate revenue, Governor Sule said: “Every State in the country still relies on FAC. There are only one or two States in the entire federation that can say ‘from our IGR we can run the State’ right now. That is the situation.

“Also coming from my background, if you give people the opportunity to work, you must also find a way to pay them. It is not even about insolvency. So we went back into the system to ask, have we given the people the work to do? Yes. Therefore, we must find the money to pay them. So we have looked round and we are working very hard.

“Going back to our IGR, we are looking at the IGR in totality. From the solid minerals we have taxes that we are actually not paying and to the sensitization of the people that are avoiding paying what they are supposed to pay, to services that we say we are rendering but we can’t afford to render.

“We have to look at all these in totality. We can’t begin to just say we are giving education free, health free and then at the end of the day you say you don’t have money to pay civil servants. That cannot be acceptable. If you have civil servants whom you have given job to do, you must find a way to pay them. And that is the way we are looking at it in Nasarawa State.”

Speaking on the cost of running government and the notion that governance in Nigeria is over-bloated, Governor Sule said: “I strongly believe in that and that is why up to this moment, I haven’t appointed key aides. I have appointed only 15 Special Assistants. I have not appointed PAs up to this moment. We are trying to manage the economy. But by the time we get cruising, and we have saved some money, we can actually bring in people to do that.

“Governments generally are known to be inefficient. And this is worldwide. The inefficiencies you find in government is so wide. There is no doubt about it. I have lived so many years in the US and it is the same problem. In Germany it is the same thing where almost everything works except the services that are being provided by the government.

“So, I think it is uniform worldwide. But can we improve on it? Yes. Do I believe in the question you have asked? Yes, I believe we are over-bloated. We have reduced the number of ministries we have in Nasarawa from 18 to 13. I have reduced the number of special assistants to 15. That is what we are doing. And if I don’t believe we are over-bloated I won’t be doing what I’m doing.”

The Governor also analysed President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year message to Nigeria where he commended the President for the strides he has made in the areas of the fight against corruption, the economy and the state of security in the country.

When questioned about the country’s debt profile which has become a major source of concern for Nigerians, Governor Sule said that even the percentage of the 2020 national budget which was earmarked for servicing of Nigeria’s debt is worrying, such expenditures are necessary.

He also urged Nigerians to be more interested in what was being done with the money borrowed rather than just the amounts being borrowed assuring them that President Buhari is a man of integrity who will never use the resources of the country for personal gain.

Governor Abdullahi Sule also used the opportunity to dispel rumours that there was an impending implosion within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that what was happening was only normal in politics.

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