Minimum Wage: Let States Pay According To Their Abilities –Southern Govs

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The 17 Governors from the Southern part of Nigeria under the aegis of the Southern Governors’ Forum have advocated that each state be allowed to negotiate a new minimum wage they can pay with the labour unions.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of their meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

“The Forum discussed the minimum wage issues demanded by labour and unanimously agreed that the minimum wage should be reflective of the cost of living and ability to pay, and each State be allowed to negotiate their minimum wage,” the communique partly read.

In the 16 points communique, the Forum called for strengthening of fiscal federalism and devolution of powers and expressed concern over current practices where mineral licenses are issued and explorations undertaken without recourse to state governments.

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It noted that issuing mineral licenses without carrying the states along have resulted in criminal activities, attendant negative environmental impact, ecological degradation, and with no remediation commitment or revenue accruing to the States or the Federal Government.

The governors maintained that being the economic and industrial region of the country, there was need to address the inadequate power supply in the region by taking advantage of the recent constitutional amendment that now allows States to regulate, generate, transmit and distribute electricity whilst also considering optional sources like renewables.

The southern governors said they have resolved to aggressively embark on energy transition plan from fossil fuels (petrol and diesel) to cleaner energy and specifically CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and ultimately EV’s (Electric Vehicles) to help reduce the cost of transportation, which would lower the cost of food, goods and services of the citizens and residents.

The meeting also called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate, repair and reconstruct Trunk A roads and transfer some roads to States that have expressed interest in taking them over, applauding President Tinubu for conceptualizing and commencing the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, which cuts across eight states of the region.

The Communique hinted that the governors have resolved to commission a regional multimodal transport master plan that would prioritise connectivity of rail, road, air and water transportation, to facilitate interstate, intra-regional movement of persons, goods and services and thereby enhancing the ease of doing business.

It further stated that Southern States Development Agenda (SSDA) would comprise of a team whose primary responsibility is to outline a holistic plan to foster trade and investment, sustainable growth and development, economic prosperity, social harmony and food security for the region would be set up.

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The Development Agenda, the governors added would work hand in glove with individual State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agencies, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and other relevant MDA’s and multilateral agencies as necessary.

On issue of state police, the Governors resolved to continue to advocate for the creation of State police against the backdrop of the success of the regional community based security outfits, which have been effective in intelligence gathering.

The governors, the communique further stated, resolved to remain united and committed to oneness of purpose, noting that the physical boundaries that divide the people of the south could not be compare to the strong bonds of enterprise, resilience and culture that they share just as they have resolved to be deliberate and intentional about intra region trade, partnerships and investment facilitation and promotion which was agreed would require a structured and coordinated collaborative approach.

The members of the Forum commended Mr President Tinubu for the food palliative support to States and the laudable economic recovery reforms and policies through the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda pledging to support him in his unwavering resolve to reposition the country and build a greater future for all.

It would be recalled that at the end of the meeting, Prince Dapo Abiodun was chosen to provide the needed leadership as Chairman of the Forum, while Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of Anambra State waa appointed as the Vice Chairman.

The communique concluded that quarterly meetings of the Forum would be held and rotated among member states.

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