Minimum wage: Why states must earn more than FG -Confab committee

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The National Conference Committee on Devolution of Power has given reasons why it said that states must earn more than the Federal Government from the Federation Account.

The committee, whose report was considered and debated by the delegates at the plenary on Monday, has recommended increase in the monthly allocation to the states.

The report, which was presented by the co-chairmen of the committee, Obong Victor Attah and Ibrahim Coomassie, recommended that the Federal Government should get 42.5 per cent, State Governments, 45 per cent; and Local Government, 22,5 per cent.

This recommendation, if passed, will replace the existing formula in which the Federal Government is currently earning 52.68 per cent, while State Governments are earning 26.72 per cent and Local Government, 20.60 per cent from the Federation Account.

The committee said the increase in the money going to states would help them to fund other projects that would come from the devolution of power, which it said would place more responsibilities on them.

It said, “Power should devolve to the federating units by reviewing the Legislative Lists in order to give true meaning to our federal system of government.”

It added that due to the enormous “concentration of power at the federal level, the committee considered it necessary to reduce the evil satire powers at the federal level and devolve same to the federating units.”

The committee said revenue sharing was a very important issue in a federal system of government, adding that as a concept of fiscal federalism, it deals with how revenues are disbursed to the federating units in a federation.

The report said, “In Nigeria, revenue sharing is one of the most robustly debated issues because of its social, economic and political implications.

“The committee therefore discussed the issue extensively in its recommendations on the Legislative Lists and the need to maintain equilibrium between the Federal Government and the Federating Units (state and local governments) and peace, stability and the prosperity of the nation.

“The committee further took into consideration the need for the federal and state governments to fulfil their constitutional responsibilities and the need to ensure development of all parts of the country in arriving at its recommendations.

“During its deliberations, the committee also examined specific development challenges of states and local governments and was of the opinion that, to a great extent, rapid economic and social development could be achieved in Nigeria if the percentage of revenues allocated to states and local governments is reviewed upwards.”

On labour, including trade unions, industrial relations, conditions, safety and welfare of labour, industrial disputes, prescribing a national minimum wage for the Federation or any part thereof and industrial arbitrations, the committee said these should be split into two.

Labour, including trade unions, industrial disputes, prescribing a national minimum wage for the Federation and industrial arbitrations, it said, should be retained in the Exclusive List.

The committee however recommended that labour, including industrial relations, conditions, safety and welfare of labour should be removed from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent Legislative.

In arriving at this decision, the committee said it considered very seriously, the input made by the labour leaders who it said appeared before it to present their position in the matter.

The committee added that it was also guided by the need for flexibility in labour relation matters, without prejudice to the powers of the Federal Government to legislature on the National Minimum wage.

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