Southern Governors’ advocate negotiation with labour unions on new minimum wage

The Southern Governors’ Forum, have called for the consideration of the cost of living and the ability of each state to pay in reaching an agreement on the new minimum wage, and also advocated that each state negotiate the new wage with the labour unions.

Penpushing reports that their position was contained in a16-point communique issued at the end of their meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, and equally called for strengthening fiscal federalism and devolution of powers.

The Governors from the southern part of Nigeria, in the communique also expressed concern over current practices where mineral licences are issued and explorations undertaken without recourse to state governments.

Lush Arena

Penpushing further reports that the communique pointed out that issuing mineral licences without carrying the states along has resulted in criminal activities, attendant negative environmental impact, and ecological degradation, with no remediation commitment or revenue accruing to the states or the Federal Government.

The Governors posited that being the economic and industrial region of the country, there was a need to address the inadequate power supply in the region by taking advantage of the recent constitutional amendment that now allows states to regulate, generate, transmit and distribute electricity whilst also considering optional sources like renewables.

Penpushing also reports that they said they have resolved to aggressively embark on an energy transition plan from fossil fuels (petrol and diesel) to cleaner energy, specifically Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and ultimately Electric Vehicles (EVs), to help reduce the cost of transportation, which would lower the cost of food, goods and services for the citizens and residents.

The communique in similar vein, called on the federal government to rehabilitate, repair, and reconstruct Trunk A roads and transfer some of them to states that have expressed interest in taking them over, and applauded President Bola Tinubu for conceptualising and commencing the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, which cuts across eight states of the region.

Penpushing reports that the meeting hinted that the Governors have resolved to commission a regional multimodal transport masterplan that would prioritise connectivity of rail, road, air and water transportation to facilitate interstate, intra-regional movement of persons, goods and services, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business.

The communique stated that the Southern States Development Agenda (SSDA) would comprise a team whose primary responsibility is to outline a holistic plan to foster trade and investment, sustainable growth and development, economic prosperity, social harmony and food security for the region.

Penpushing further reports that the Governors added that the development agenda, would work hand in hand with individual state investment promotion and facilitation agencies, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), and other relevant MDAs and multilateral agencies as necessary.

The Governors on the issue of state police resolved to continue to advocate the creation of state police against the backdrop of the success of the regional community-based security outfits, which have been effective in intelligence gathering.

Penpushing also reports that the communique explained that the Governors, resolved to remain united and committed to oneness of purpose, noting that the physical boundaries that divide the people of the south could not be compared to the strong bonds of enterprise, resilience and culture that they share.

The meeting said they have resolved to be deliberate about intra region trade, partnerships and investment facilitation and promotion, which was agreed would require a structured and coordinated collaborative approach.”

Penpushing reports that the forum commended Tinubu for the food palliative support to states and the laudable economic recovery reforms and policies through the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda, with a pledge to support him in his unwavering resolve to reposition the country and build a greater future for all.

The Governors, it is recalled at the end of the meeting, unanimously elected Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, as the new chairman of the forum, while Governor of Anambra State Prof Charles Soludo was appointed vice chairman.

Meanwhile, the Governors in conclusion agreed that quarterly meetings of the forum would be held and rotated among member states, as they also paid respect to its immediate past chairman, the late Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, of Ondo State with condolences extended to his family.

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