The Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, has attributed the inability of state Governors to provide basic infrastructure and undertake investment in other sectors like Health, Education, Road construction amongst others, to paucity of funds.
He said that Governors have been largely limited to the payment of Salaries alone in their respective states, adding that it is impossible to perform magic as funds are required “for these things”
The Governor is reported to have made this statement in Abuja after the governors’ meeting on Wednesday.
Mr Yari, who doubles as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum also called for a review of the national income in the last 14 years. He believes that this information would enable the Governors agree on the contentious issue of minimum wage implementation.
The Federal Government had set up a committee, which is believed to be concluding negotiations on the matter in earnest. A new minimum wage for workers is to be rolled out in September, hopefully.
The Governors are however insisting on the overwhelming impact of the new minimum wage if approved. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has been proposing a minimum wage of N65,000 for workers.
“We have a committee of six which represented us in discussions in the committee headed by labour minister,” he said.
“The committee is yet to give us the final report. When they give us the final report, for which they have our mandate to present our position, and the position most likely is to look at the record of up to 14 years.
“For instance, in global practice, in your income, how much are you spending as salary? So that we can start from there. They have given us interim report that at the federal government level, over 82 per cent is being spent on overhead which cannot move the country forward in terms of infrastructure development and development that we need now.
“So, on our own part, we are saying we are going to look at how our income are trained from our final account from 14 years ago so that we can come up and stay in the middle.
“I don’t think you people voted us for only to pay salaries. You are looking for good roads, electricity, education and others. So, we can’t do magic. It’s only when we have the funds (to) do all those things.”
Governor Yari also stated that the governors deliberated on the tactics deployed by the anti-graft agencies in their fight against “corruption” and resolved that they must adhere strictly to due process.
Speaking on the freezing of Akwa Ibom and Benue states government accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Yari told journalists that he is positive that even President Muhammadu Buhari will not support the action.
“We believe strongly that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari would not sit down and supervise this illegality in the system.
“What we are saying is that we all support the government to fight corruption because it is endemic and has retarded the nation for over six decades. Definitely, it was part of what we discussed.
“What we are saying now is that we are going to support the government in terms of what it is doing to fight corruption, but due process must be respected in whatever action the agencies are going to take in the name of fighting corruption. That is the position of the governors,” he said.