Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has stressed the need for the Federal Government to allocate more fund to the states in order to make them more responsible and responsive to the yearnings of the people.
Fayemi who expressed his displeasure on the present revenue sharing formula where the larger chunk is allocated to the Federal Government, leaving the federating states and local governments with low allocation, said approval of the new minimum wage by the Federal Government required that government make moves to increase states’ funding to enable them effectively take up the responsibility.
The Governor, who spoke on a Television/Radio network programme in Ado-Ekiti on Monday evening, however, assured workers that his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum are committed to the payment of the new minimum wage as soon as the Federal Government releases the template.
He reiterated the need for government at all levels to diversify the economy and think of ways to generate more revenue to enable them effectively address the socio-economic challenges facing them.
“We have a bigger issue, which does not necessarily apply to workers, it’s about re-ordering the revenue allocation formula in the country, because you cannot continue to impose on states a tyranny of unfunded mandate. If you want us to take responsibility for certain things then it’s only fair that we are funded to take responsibility for them. So, right now, 52 percent of the Nigerian resources goes to the Federal Government; 26 percent to state governments; and 20 percent to local governments. We feel that this ought to be revisited and the allocation formula needs to be reviewed.
“The ability of the Federal Government and the federation account to also respond to this would depend largely on the capacity of the Nigerian state to generate more resources, so everybody has a role to play in baking the pie if we want the pie to provide the resources that would be available to all Nigerians particularly workers”. Governor Fayemi said.
On the issue of minimum wage, Fayemi said “Governors were part of the negotiations, there is no uncertainty around government’s commitment. It’s been signed into law, so, governors definitely would honour the law as it is. The issue that needs to be addressed fundamentally by workers and employers is one clear issue, is a minimum wage review also a general wage review?
“What do I mean by that? Minimum wage apply to anyone earning anything less than N30,000 now. It should not apply to people who are earning above that. However, because the increase is going to have an implication on those who already earn above N30,000, there necessarily ought to be some adjustment to make provision for that shift, that is where the sticky point is. From what I gathered, Federal Government that is supposed to provide the template for the implementation of the minimum wage review has offered a general increase of, I think, 5 percent to workers that may not fall within the minimum wage category but who might be affected by the increase that the junior workers would benefit from.
“ I have reassured the union leaders in Ekiti that once we get the template, difficult as it might be for us, we are committed to honouring the minimum wage review that we have signed up to at the Governors’ Forum and I can assure you that my colleagues in the governors’ forum are also committed to doing this”.
While assuring workers that his government would continue to ensure prompt payment of their salaries, the governor urged them to improve on their level of productivity to justify the huge resources government was expending on them
He further assured that his administration would fulfil its promise to pay all outstanding arrears owed by the immediate past administration within one year.
He said, “A labourer deserves his wage and that is why we’ve made it a duty to ensure that workers earn their salaries as at when due so that they can plan their lives, part of the problem that we met on ground when we came to office was that workers had not received their salaries in some cases for about ten months, so how do you plan your life if you don’t even know when your next salary is going to come, but that has become a thing of the past now.
“In the course of that period, we also said we would clear the outstanding arrears owed workers by the previous administration and we are on course to doing that. I gave a year of clearing arrears and we are working assiduously to ensure that we would clear the arrears We’ve made sure that workers earn their salaries every month since I came into office. But I don’t think this is extraordinary anyway, that is what it should be. I know Ekiti people are appreciative because this was a problem in the past, but really, if you work, you should be paid, it’s not something to praise the governor for frankly and I’m not being modest about it, I just think it’s a duty, it’s not a favour done to workers.
“What they need to do in response is to ensure that the level of productivity increases so that Ekiti people can also feel the impact of the improvement in the regular payment of their salaries, to whom much is given, as they say much is expected”. He added.