More states have taken steps towards implementing the new minimum wage regime, the latest being Cross River and Delta.
Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River inaugurated the state public service negotiating committee for the implementation of the new wage weekend, at the Deputy Governor's Conference Room, Governor's Office in Calabar, the state capital.
Ayade, represented by the deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu, expressed the willingness of his administration to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000.
He said, "We are only here to negotiate the consequential adjustments that will affect salaries from Grade Levels seven to 17.â€
According to him, "In doing that, we carefully selected this team of technocrats and strong labour people not just from the state civil service but from the local government for the negotiations.â€
The governor urged the team to bear in mind the state's financial reality stating that "In carrying out this negotiations, you must ensure that you think about the purse of the state as in the entire South South zone, Cross River is the only state that does not get a penny as extra revenue coming from oil.â€
He advised the team "not to go ahead and negotiate what will cause us to start owing salaries, or make workers clap for you that you worked so hard and at the end of the day, we are not able to pay or we begin to wait for two or three months in order to put money together to pay one month.â€
Ayade, reminded the team of his labour friendly disposition and noted that he decided to include the commissioner for finance, state accountant general and the auditor general in the team, "to show you our books so that you see exactly what we have and so that you don't negotiate from the air.â€
The team's terms of reference include determining the effective date for the implementation of the new minimum wage, determining and recommending any other issue incidental to the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
Chairman of the negotiation team, Dr Chris Ekeng Ita, said the first job has been made easy by the caliber of people that are meant to negotiate because they are knowledgeable.
He said, "On the union side, they have the capacity and on the government side, we have the capacity to negotiate and amicably come to a conclusion.â€
Ita, who is also the head of service of the state, said there has never been a time that Governor Ayade said he will not be able to pay the new minimum wage, adding that "this disposition of the governor gives hope that the assignment given to them will be finished in a very short while.â€
Representing labour in the team are Comrades Julius Nkoyi, John Odey, Francis Bisong, Joe Idiege and Ben Ukpebi, Clarkson Otu, Godwin Ayendi and Eyo Nsa Eyo Itam.
Those representing government are the commissioner for finance, Dr Chris Ita, the state accountant general, Joseph Adie; the auditor general as well as permanent secretaries, including
Innocent Eteng, Emmanuel Eke and Helen Brown Ubom.
The committee is to present its report on or before January 31, 2020.
Similarly, the Delta State government made good its promise by signing the new minimum wage, at the weekend, in Asaba, with effect from November 1, last year. The new wage increment would cost the state over N700m monthly and the pact ensures that the two months arrears of November and December last year would be paid in installments alongside January and February salaries.
The secretary to Delta State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, who is chairman of the implementation committee, at a meeting with the leadership of Organized Labour in the state, commended workers in the state for their maturity.
Ebie, who signed on behalf of the state government, stated that the Gov Ifeanyi Okowa administration was committed to the welfare of workers in the state.
The chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Mr Goodluck Ofobruku and the state chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Martin Bolum, who signed on behalf of workers, thanked Okowa for agreeing to pay the new wage.