How we'll fund N70,000 new minimum wage for Edo workers, by Obaseki

2024-05-01 19:35:12

Nigerian Observer

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, says the N70,000 new minimum wage for workers in the state is within what his administration can afford, adding that the increase became necessary as a result of current economic realities.

The governor said this while addressing workers during a rally held to mark the May Day celebration at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

He praised the workers for the harmonious relationship with his administration, noting that the peaceful disposition of Organised Labour in the state with the government has contributed to several achievements for the State Government.

Obaseki noted, "Two days ago, I announced that we have raised the minimum wage for Edo workers from N40,000 to N70,000 naira, an increase of over 75 per cent. This is because we know and feel the pains and hardship which most of you experience daily.

"Fuel subsidy has been removed. The exchange rate has more than doubled and food prices have gone almost off the roof and most of you find it difficult to feed yourselves and your families.

"We are an empathetic government; we can't say we do not know and if we know, we can't sit down without doing anything about it. This is why we say even if it's a strain on us, we should do what we ought to do to increase the minimum wage for our workers."

Obaseki added: "The N70,000 minimum wage is within what we can afford as a State Government. However, should the Federal Government decide on a higher minimum wage and make the funds available to states from the savings which have been made from fuel subsidy, the Edo State Government will adjust its minimum wage to that of the Federal government.

"Your salaries will continue to be paid on or before the 26th day of every month. We would continue to ensure we have an effective health insurance scheme to assist public servants. This scheme has assisted many families. I encourage you to enroll into this scheme.

"I assure our pensioners that we will continue to pay your premium so that it will enable you to attend to your healthcare needs in our health facilities in the state. To our workers, we would continue to pay your health insurance so that if anything happens to you, your families will not be left in penury."

The governor praised the workers for their support, noting, "I am here today to thank you because you made our several achievements possible because of the harmony and peace between labour and government in the state. We have not had any strike in the Edo State in the last seven and a half years as we have not had any issues with any unions in the state."

He further said, "I would be leaving office in six months' time but will not be leaving you because I will be leaving in place a 30-year Benin City and Edo State Regional Development Plan which will be a direction where we should be going as a people and a state for the next generation.

"In 2016 when I became governor, several issues were crying for attention, ranging from a broken pension system, to a flawed recruitment process in the public and civil service, a very unattractive reward system to a generally poor working environment. Today, after seven years, we have created a new public and civil service in Edo State and it's drastically more efficient, has infrastructure, improved service because of you and can be compared to any that can be found in the world.

"We have improved the condition of service and changed the narrative and our processes, systems, workplace and conditions of service are second to none. We have introduced technology on the basis in which civil service rests and have improved the way we work. We have successfully built the first public service in Nigeria to fully go digital and the rate technology is redesigning the work processes in Edo State is unprecedented and our workers can testify the way our E-Gov works.

"Since you elected me as a governor of Edo State, your welfare and that of every citizen in Edo has been the basis of every decision taken in Edo State and have used every resource for the benefits and greater goals of our citizens.

"In 2016, I promised to build institutions for governance and today workers have helped me to achieve the modest institutional reforms in the state. With your support we have been able to recruit over 5,000 workers based on merit not favouritism. We have the best public service training academy in West Africa as it has trained over 10,000 workers.

For his part, the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Edo State Chapter, Comrade. Odion Olaye, thanked the governor for his magnanimity and increment of the minimum wage for Edo workers from N40,000 to N70, 000 even without the Edo workers' agitation.

He noted, "We appreciate the governor for building a befitting Labour House for Edo workers, registration of pensioners in the Edo Health Insurance Scheme, stable payment of salaries, 13-month salary, and for employment first class indigenes into Edo Civil Service."

2024-05-01 News