Governors of the 36 states of the federation have resolved to meet President Muhammadu Buhari as part of measures to find a way out of the country’s economic woes.
The governors who came out of a meeting under the platform of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, held at the State House Conference Centre in the midnight of yesterday said they were finding it difficult to pay salaries and meet up with their obligations.
They attributed this to the dwindling monthly allocations occasioned by plummeting crude oil prices.
They also threw their weight behind the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC over the fine it slapped on MTN for violating service regulations, saying that the service provider must pay up in full.
Reading the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, chairman of the forum and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, said the states could no longer bear the N18,000 minimum wage that was imposed on them when oil sold for $126 as against its present level of $41.
He said the way out of the situation was the diversification of the economy with attention on agriculture and mining.
“We resolved that we must look at ways to enhance revenue generation and at the same time look at ways to cut our overhead costs more especially the political office holders’ salaries and other overhead expenses.
“The situation is no longer the same when we were asked to pay N18,000 minimum wage, when oil price was $126 (per barrel).
“We will diversify our economy in the area of agriculture and mining. But at the same time, we should understand our situation where some of us (states) today are taking N100million take home (monthly allocation) and have salaries in particular of over N2billion to pay.
“We therefore agreed here to take this suggestion to NEC in our meeting tomorrow (Thursday) so that we can find ways to tackle this problem.
“And we are looking at coming together to discussing with Mr. President and his team, with governors, technocrats and experts in the economy to see how we can tackle our troubled situation. We are working harder to deal with it.”
On the MTN fine, Yari remarked that the NGF support for the NCC came after the acting Executive Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Professor Umar Dambata, briefed the governors on the matter.
He said while the forum congratulated Dambata for his appointment and pledged its commitment to engage with the NCC, the NGF also commended the regulatory agency for “its strict compliance and enforcement of the law with regards to the fine issued to MTN and advised the Federal Government to ensure prompt and full payment.”