State governors, under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), have reaffirmed their acceptance to pay N30,000 minimum wage to workers in their respective states.
NGF Chairman Kayode Fayemi made the clarification in Abuja while answering questions from newsmen at the end of the meeting of the forum in Abuja.
Fayemi denied allegations by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that many governors had yet to start negotiations with their state NLC chapters over the implementation, saying negotiations had started in all states.
“What we can tell you is that no state will pay less than N30,000 when we finally get to that point,” Fayemi said.
Reading the communique of the last meeting of the forum for 2019, the forum’s chairman said that transfer of the 2018 World Bank-funded State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) grants to states would take place in March 2020.
He said that the forum received an update from the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) and the World Bank team on the SFTAS on the Independent Verification Assessment (IVA) exercise conducted across states, which hinted that the exercise would be concluded in January 2020.
The governor also disclosed that the forum received a briefing on the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 from the UK Foreign Office led by Mrs Harriet Thompson, the UK Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria.
Fayemi said that the summit to be hosted by the UK Prime Minister would bring together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase investment opportunities in Africa in January 2020.
Fayemi, who is also the governor of Ekiti, also said that the forum received an update on its health priorities, especially Universal Healthcare, Nutrition and on the Polio Eradication Initiative, including the Seattle Declaration.
“Governors reiterated their commitment to an effective implementation and tracking of the Seattle commitment,” he said.
He pledge the governors’ commitment to work with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in the use of geo-spatial data for evidence-based decision making and development in the country.
Fayemi said that the forum received a presentation from the ministry on the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) programme in Nigeria.
GRID3 is a programme designed to strengthen the application of geo-spatial data for evidence-based decision making in the country.
He said that the National Coordinator of GRID3, Mr Inuwa Yau, also highlighted several applications of the programme in priority areas of government including food security, health coverage, financial inclusion, survey and demographics and education.
“Finally, state governors commended the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for coordinating the GRID3 programme which will be central to development-planning going forward.
“Members pledged to work with the ministry by providing the right institutional arrangements in all states to ensure that each state supports the generation and management of geo-spatial data.
“This will ensure that state governments have the right information in identifying where people live and how critical services can be most equitably and effectively allocated,” he said.
He, however, declined comment on the forum’s stance on the Federal Government fresh request for 30 billion-dollar external borrowing plan, observing that it ought to be the Federal Government’s affair.
“It is really a matter between the Federal Government and the National Assembly and we don’t want to comment on that,” Fayemi said.