Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has agreed to commence payment of wage award of twenty five thousand naira (N25,000) and fifteen thousand naira(N15,000) for both workers and pensioners in the state.
The governor also assured that workers would start receiving payment alert from their respective banks before the week runs out.
Makinde made the disclosure on Monday while addressing workers who besieged the Governor’s office, Agodi Secretariat office.
Recall that the workers had last month (October) threatened to embark on indefinite strike should the government failed to meet their demands of wage increase following the announcement of the federal government wage award of thirty five thousand naira (N35,000).
Unsatisfied with the announcement by the Governor for payment of wage award to take effect from October, the workers who spoke in loud voices demanded for the payment to be backdated to September.
In his response, Makinde, who guaranteed October payment to start within the week said, considering the finances of the state he could not make any bogus promise but assured that he would look into the financial books of the state and decide what to be done next.
Speaking further, Makinde noted that the amount announced as wage award for both workers and pensioners would add additional 2.2 billion naira on the state government’s wage bill for each month.
He added that the wage award has been designed to last for six months through which the state government would have been able to work out a sustainable package for civil servants in the state.
While calling on the protesting workers to show more understanding, Makinde explained that he understood that the economy was biting hard on households finances due to fuel subsidy removal and naira-dollar exchange rate.
He said the current economic situation calls for deeper partnership and cooperation between government and workers rather than having the ‘we against them’ disposition stressing that the present economic situation would pass with collective efforts.
“We’re talking with your leaders, there are one or two things i want to point out and it should be concerning to us in Oyo state. How come that Lagos that is 120km away, their IGR is 60 billion naira and we’re struggling between N3.5 and N3.8 billion, it was N1.8 billion when we came in during our first tenure.”
“So, we must decide if we wanted to work together improve the economy of Oyo state. If we provided economic prosperity in Oyo state it would reach everybody.” Makinde said
Addressing Governor’s Office Correspondents immediately after speaking with the workers, Governor Makinde said the 2.2 billion naira would have a direct impact on the state’s finances but expressed determination to make his promise to the workers come to fruition.
He noted that it would further stretch the state government capacity but it was a situation that must be addressed which was why his government made the wage award announcement reassuring that workers would start to get payment alert before the week runs out.
“We all understand that it’s a challenging period for us as a nation and as a state, you have to look at your pocket to see what we can do, so for every Pensioner in the state, we will give them fifteen thousand naira monthly for the next six months and I guarantee it is starting from October, but they’re asking we start by September and I told them I don’t know if we had enough money. And for workers, we’re doing twenty five thousand naira to cushion the effects of this economic challenges that we’re all going through.” Makinde added.
Earlier, the Chairman, Oyo state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Kayode Martins told journalists that the Governor’s gesture should put to an end all agitations for wage award.