David Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi State, has faulted the petition by the Nigeria Labour Congress for an increment in the minimum wage from the current N18,000 to N56,000 monthly.
The Governor faulted the NLC petition in an interview with a leading media house in Abuja on the sidelines of a meeting with the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Kayode Pitan.
Umahi explained that with the present economic realities in the country, increasing the amount to N56,000 will put many states under immense financial burden, it has been quite hard for these states to even pay the N18,000 minimum wage,
Umahi lamented that the level of productivity of civil servants was lower than what they currently earned, while admitting that government workers were poorly paid.
Furthermore, he argued that most state governments would not have allocated about 80 per cent of their annual budgets to the payment of salaries, if the level of productivity of civil servants was at the optimum level.
The governor stated, “Let me use this opportunity to say that the civil servants in our nation, their salaries are very poor but their output is also terribly very poor.
“When 80 per cent of the budget of a state and sometimes 100 per cent is used to pay workers’ salaries, then the questions we should ask is what are the workers doing? Because you must have some money for capital projects; that is the essence of the workers in the first place.
“The point is that no state can pay that N56,000 minimum wage amount. Probably, only Lagos can pay and so what is the need of talking about a new minimum wage when states, as it is today, cannot pay salaries. So that’s my position”, he further added.