From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
The Benue State Government has agreed to pay the new national minimum wage of N30,000 recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Governor has however called on the federal government to review the Revenue Allocation Formula in favour of states to facilitate the smooth implementation of the new minimum wage.
Governor Samuel Ortom made this promise at the J.S Tarka Foundation, in Makurdi while declaring open the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Benue State Council Delegates Conference.
He noted that the Nigerian worker deserves more than N30,000 minimum wage if funds were available to pay, pointing out that consultations would soon commence towards successful implementation of the new national minimum wage.
Governor Ortom charged the delegates to elect people with integrity who will be servant leaders and provide selfless service to the organised labour in the state.
He thanked the Labour unions for their support and commitment to his re-election and pledged his commitment to the welfare of workers and pensioners in the state.
National President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the Nigeria Labour Congress rejects the proposal to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to fund 2019 budget.
Wabba warned that any increase would not only rob workers of the minimum relief but will leave the economy in dire strait.
NLC president who was represented by the President of Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, (JUSUN), Mamman Mustapha, urge government to explore other progressive ways of financing the budget.
“Government should adopt progressive taxation in a manner that captures more people in the tax net and ensures that the rich and luxury items are properly taxed.”
Wabba who flayed non payment of salaries by most state governments said urged governors to cut down on high cost of governance to enable them pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
He further charged leaders that would emerge at the delegates conference to make accountability, humility, discipline and collective leadership their watchword.
State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Godwin Anya, had thanked Governor Ortom for agreeing to pay the new minimum wage saying it will help ameliorate the sufferings of workers in the state.
Anya who appreciated union members for returning him unopposed, pledged good leadership just as he expressed hope that Governor Ortom would address the plight of Benue workers and pensioners in his second term.