States Split on FG’s N35,000 Wage Award to Federal Workers

The agreement between the Federal Government and the labour unions on Monday night over the N35,000 wage award for federal workers in response to the petrol subsidy removal has caused a division among the states.

Some states have expressed their willingness to follow the Federal Government’s decision and pay their workers N35,000 until a new minimum wage is negotiated next year.

However, other states have claimed that they have already been paying their workers N10,000 extra since July and are not obliged to increase it to N35,000.

The Kwara State government, for instance, said it had initiated the N10,000 award for its civil servants before the Federal Government and would maintain it. The Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, did not comment on whether the state would adjust its award to match the Federal Government’s.

He said: “This is to support them until a new minimum wage comes on stream. Some other pro-worker measures, including reduction of work days from five to three, have also been implemented in different sectors to strengthen the purchasing power of workers, with positive impacts on the larger economy.

“The government will continue with these measures and more, such as the N10,000 cash award to students of Kwara State origin, to bring more ease to the people.

“The Kwara State government commends the step of the federal government. It is, of course, expected that other states that do not already have such arrangements will follow suit with sustainable amounts that align with their own financial realities.”

In Kebbi State, the government is set to convene a cabinet meeting to decide on the wage award for workers in Kebbi. This was made known by Malam Yahya Sarki, the Special Adviser to Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi State, on Media and Publicity.

He said the governor, who was a former unionist, would consider the welfare of the workers and approve a reasonable amount. He did not specify if the state government will match the N35,000 agreed by the Federal Government and Labour.

Meanwhile, in Enugu State, the government has expressed its readiness to replicate the Federal Government’s wage award of N35,000 for its workers. The State Commissioner for Labour and Employment, Chika Ugwuoke, told reporters that the state government will also implement the subsidy removal palliative measures designed by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of the wage award on the workers.

He said that the state government had already commenced the smooth distribution of the palliatives provided by the Federal Government.

“Enugu State was very prompt in the distribution of palliatives to our people and this wage award won’t be any different,” Ugwuoke said.

Also, the state governments of Niger, Adamawa and Cross Rivers have reacted to the announcement of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu that the minimum wage for workers in Nigeria will be increased to N35,000.

The Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Niger State, Hajiya Binta Mamman, said that the state government will not rush to decide how much to add to its workers salary until it has assessed the financial implications for the state. She said that the state executive council, led by Governor Muhammed Umaru Bago, will discuss the matter and come up with a reasonable figure.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, Deacon Humashi Wounosikoh, said that the state government has already taken steps to alleviate the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy by paying N10,000 as transport allowance to all workers in the state. He said that the state government will consider the N35,000 minimum wage approved by the federal government, but noted that no official directive has been received from Abuja.

The Governor of Cross Rivers State, Basey Otu, said that the state is already paying N10,000 wage award to its workers, but did not disclose whether it will adopt the N35,000 minimum wage announced by the federal government.