Matawalle hints Zamfara can’t pay minimum wage, asks workers to start businesses


Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, has hinted that the state government cannot pay the new minimum wage.


He said his government is currently grappling with monthly deductions for debt servicing inherited from the past administration, payment of salaries and running of the government.


The governor spoke on Friday when he hosted executive members of the 36 labour unions under the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the breaking of the Ramadan fast at his Gusau residence.


The new minimum wage bill was signed into law in April 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari. The law stipulates an increase from N18,500 to N30,000 as minimum wage in Nigeria.


“Zamfara, which is one of the least collectors of monthly federal allocation has over ₦1.6 billion deducted from source to service the debts it inherited from the past administration,” he said.


“Every month, the state is left with between ₦1.8 billion and ₦1.3 billion to pay salaries to its over 28,000 workers as well as to execute government’s activities.”


He, however, said, he would implement the new minimum wage as soon as there is an improvement and called for more understanding from the workers.


The governor also urged the workers to start their own businesses which they can fall back on after retirement.


“l can assure you that if you start your own business, you will gain experience and be well established before you retire,” he said.


“The state government will register and issue certificates on all public and private landed properties which can be used to secure bank loans for interested workers with the backing of the government.”


In its 2021 budget document seen, the state earmarked N2 billion for the government house’s “air transport” expenses.


Matawalle got an allocation of N150 million for his medical expenses — an amount equivalent to the allocation of the 20 general hospitals listed in the budget.


About 65 percent (N100 million) of the money will go into his medical care abroad while the remaining N50 million will be for such expenses in Nigeria.


The government house also got an allocation of N1 billion each for the purchase of water equipment and electrical cables.


The sum of N500 million was also set aside as welfare packages for just the seat of power, which also got another N500 million for “special days and celebrations”.

The sum of N228 million was budgeted for hotel reservations abroad while N258 million was earmarked for outfits for government officials under 10 different MDAs.


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