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How Decentralizing Minimum Wage Can Benefit States, Says Fayemi | DETAILS REVEALED

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Former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has proposed that minimum wage negotiations should be decentralized, allowing state governments to determine what they can afford based on their unique economic circumstances. Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Fayemi emphasized the need for state-specific wage negotiations to ensure fairness and transparency.


Nigeria Former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has advocated for the decentralization of minimum wage negotiations, suggesting that state governments should determine what they can pay based on their unique economic conditions. This proposal was made during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday.


The Federal Government and labor unions have been in prolonged negotiations over a new minimum wage, with labor unions demanding N250,000 while the federal government is offering N62,000. Fayemi, however, believes that a one-size-fits-all approach is impractical.


“Every governor has to deal with the issue of national minimum wage,” Fayemi explained. “When I was governor and chairman of the governor’s forum, and I believe even till this recent negotiation, we should decentralize minimum wage negotiations and allow states to have their own negotiations with their own labor unions whilst the Federal Government conducts its own negotiations because the fingers are not equal.”


Fayemi emphasized the importance of transparency in these negotiations. “Each state should define in conjunction with their labor unions, with transparency, providing all the records to the labor unions and saying, ‘Look, this is what we have, but you are also only five or 10% of our population. We also have another 90% of the population that we must attend to.’”


Addressing concerns about potential disparities, Fayemi noted, “What we’re dealing with now is dogma. Labour does not want to hear anything about decentralized national minimum wage, and decentralizing does not mean that what is paid at the state level will be lower than the federal. In the ’60s and the ’50s, civil servants in the western regions used to earn more than federal civil servants.”


The minimum wage debate has been ongoing, with various stakeholders weighing in. Governors have previously argued that a N60,000 minimum wage is unsustainable, while human rights lawyer Femi Falana contended that both state and federal governments could afford the minimum wage with the right political will.


President Bola Tinubu, during a Democracy Day dinner on June 12, stated that the federal government would pay what it can afford, urging everyone to “cut your coat according to your size.” However, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) remains steadfast in its demand for a N250,000 minimum wage.


Fayemi’s proposal for decentralized wage negotiations aims to bring a practical solution to the ongoing debate, ensuring that each state can set fair wages based on its economic capabilities.

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