Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has exploded over the proposed N30,000 national minimum wage, warning that 95 per cent of the states would not be able to pay.
The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum declared that 95 per cent of states cannot pay except there was a review of the allocation formula.
Umahi who said he could not preside over a state that uses all monies to pay salaries, made the position of the governors known when he inaugurated a 36-member fact-finding committee to ascertain the mode of workers’ promotion arrears payment in states.
The payment of the N30, 000 could only be realised if the federation account allocation formula was reviewed to offer more earnings to 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.
“There is no governor or political office holder that signs cheques but civil servants as the country’s leaders and labour are just putting water inside a basket and praying God to hold it with this minimum wage issue,” he said.
He urged the country’s leaders and labour to liaise 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.
“People don’t understand the problems being experienced by these states and the governors have kept quiet for long and need to speak presently,” he said.