By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
Kwara State Government has said staff audit and verification of workers are part of its efforts to reposition the public service in the state, stressing that it is not a precondition for the payment of the minimum wage.
The Commissioner for Communications Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin said in a statement on Wednesday.
“To be sure, negotiations for the minimum wage continue on Thursday. The minimum wage is a law the state government will obey.
“The challenge, however, has been how the Local governments can afford it”.
According to the statement, at the moment, all the local governments combined earn an average of N2.6bn monthly, including the 10 per cent of their share of the IGR. Remarkably, the monthly wage bill of these local government stands at about N2.5billion.
“These expenses, it must be stated, are based on the extant N18,000 minimum wage.
“When the new minimum wage is considered, including the consequential adjustments, the wage bill will shoot up to around N3billion. Clearly, the earnings of the local government cannot afford such at this time”.
“The government is committed to paying the minimum wage but it is pleading with the labour to accept a more reasonable scale which takes the total wage bill to less than N3billion.
“We call for reasonable and practical steps to avoid a situation which will lead to the local government borrowing to pay salaries as was the case before this administration,” the statement reads.