By Margaret Adado
The Cross River State Government has assured workers of prompt payment of salaries no matter the sum agreed by the federal government as the new national minimum wage.
The Special Adviser of Labor to the government, Comrade Effiong Umoh stated this on Sunday in Calabar while speaking on the radio program; ‘The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo’ aired live on Hit FM and monitored by CrossRiverWatch.
“The fact that our digital governor pays salaries even when he gets the least revenue allocation, I think Cross River will not owe workers if we have to accommodate our workers,” Mr. Umoh said when asked about the State’s ability to pay the NGN30,000 proposed by the tripartite committee set up to review the wage.
Umoh who said that the state has always enjoyed “peace” in terms of salary payments due to the policy of the Governor Ben Ayade’s administration on worker’s welfare, however pointed out that the issue was our of the State’s purview as it is under the exclusive list.
“The issue at stake is the national minimum wage, federal government must fix what they can pay which automatically is the basic salary, the federal government will fix the basic then the State will go back and negotiate on what they can pay in terms of allowances depending on their capacity,” he said.
He added that, “the minimum wage is a national issue. The national fixes the amount you; don’t need to go back you just need to pick what have been fixed and then decide how effectively you can arrange you own allowances depending on what comes into the state so the State cannot access any point of negotiation.”
Umoh who lamented the State’s earnings especially when compared to other States in the Southern part of the country, however maintained that: “If the federal (government) fixes something the States are bound to abide by it.”
He therefore, called on the federal government to improve allocation to the State in order to meet up in salary payments even as he hoped that the new wage will also mean improved revenue generation through taxes.
As at press time, CrossRiverWatch gathered that the federal government had acceded to Labor’s demand for the minimum wage to be pegged at NGN30,000.
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