On Wednesday in Abakaliki, the Chairman of the South- East Governor’s forum, Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State, declared that 95 per cent of the states cannot afford to pay the proposed, N30,000 minimum wage to workers.
The Governor stated this while inaugrating a 36- member fact-finding commitee ascertain the mode of workers’ promotion arrears payment in the States across the six geo-political regions of the states.
In the opinion of Umahi, the payment can only be afforded if the federation account allocation principle is reviewed to offer more earnings to the states.
“The federal government collects 52 per cent of the revenue from the federation account and when I tried to put the N30,000 figure to Local Government Areas (LGA) it means they will borrow N1billion to add to their allocation, in paying salaries.
“I will definitely not be a governor to govern such a state and will never preside over a state that will allocate 100 per cent of its earnings to pay salaries,” he said.
The Governor advised that the issue on petroleum subsidy in the country should be reviewed as had been underlined by the federal Government and the State.
He implore the country’s leaders’ and labour union to work hand in hand and decide on the percentage of the federation account that should be voted for salaries and other sectors.
“We should determine how much should be allocated to education, health, infrastructure among others if 100 per cent of earnings are used to pay workers salaries.
“Many states are experiencing various problems and cannot pay salaries but the people condemn their governments over their inability to provide good roads and other amenities.
He said, “People don’t understand the problems being experienced by these states and the governors have kept quiet for long and need to speak presently.”
Governor Umahi regretted that the issue of promotion arrears for workers in the state had lingered for long and urged the committee to be sincere with their findings to find an amicable solution to it.
He added that,“We have been setting up committees on this issue and getting no results because people are not being sincere and resorting to all sorts of things.”