Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has disclosed that his administration has paid N13bn out of the N19bn global deductions owed to the public servants in the state.
The governor, who equally disclosed that his administration has paid N88.92bn as pension for the state and local government retirees till date, assured that the outstanding of N6bn global deductions would be paid in the coming months.
The governor made these disclosures while addressing workers and members of trade unions at the celebration of the 2023 Workers’ Day held at the M.K. O Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta.
Emphasizing on the theme of the event “Workers’ Rights and Social Economic Rights”, Abiodun noted that his administration understood workers’ plights and was working towards addressing them.
He said that his government has paid the sum of N4.1bn as gratuities for both state and local government retirees, just as the quarterly release for pensioners had been increased from N500m to N1bn.
He further disclosed that the minimum monthly pay for pensioners in the state had been increased from N5,000 to N10,000.
“The additional N700m wage bill initially affected our plan which was to settle all outstanding commitments with our work force. Let me reassure you that our administration will continue to explore various financial options rather than imposing additional taxes on the people.
“Amongst other initiatives, we have put in place an improved working environment for our Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), commencement of the year 2021 and 2022 promotion exercise of Civil Servants, provision of housing scheme for our workers: construction and allocation of Prince Court at Kemta Idi-Aba, Abeokuta and Kobape Estate, and newly constructed quarters for the Permanent Secretary at Laderin Estate”, the governor pointed out.
Parts of the welfare package for the workers, the governor added, included the review upward by 100 percent car and motorcycle refurbishing loans, appointment of new Permanent Secretaries; Accountant-General, Solicitor-General, Principals-General and Tutor-General for seamless administration.
The state’s helmsman, however, said his government was on the verge of implementing policies and programmes to enhance the health welfare package of the work force, while regular training and retraining to enhance productivity and improve service delivery in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, would be intensified.
The governor assured that his administration would not renege on its promises or any understanding reached with the workers, as they are also stakeholders in the “Building our Future Together” agenda.
While intimating the workers with the plans of his administration in the next four years, Abiodun said: “The second phase of our administration, we will ensure the completion of infrastructural projects encompassing transportation infrastructure, be it road, be it our airport, education infrastructure, be it renovation of public schools, health infrastructure, including the provision and construction of primary health care centers till we have at least one PHC per ward.
“We will focus on the provision of public utilities which would be the supply of portable water and uninterrupted power supply to our major towns and villages to make life more abundant for our people.
“We will be embarking on our energy transition implementation through our E-mobility scheme, a plan to convert all our motorcycles to electric powered and also our mass transit buses to being gas powered.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, represented by the Federal Controller of Labour, Itemoagbo Eshomounu, said workers as wealth creators have over the years, contributed to the socio-economic development of the country, emphasizing that the Federal Government has taken steps to address challenges facing workers in their places of work.
The Ogun State chairman of Trade Union Congress, Akeem Lasisi, lauded the state government for its efforts in addressing the workers’ plights, maintaining that the Workers Day celebration was dedicated to the workers for their hard work, dedication and resilience to the economic development of the state.
While urging the state government to put labour issues at the front burner, Lasisi also called on the Federal Government to address the current security and unemployment challenges, as well fuel subsidy issues, saying the union would continue to protect its members interest by engaging government constructively rather than embarking on unnecessary strikes.
On his part, Hameed Benco, the state chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, said the state government has performed creditably well in education, agriculture, health, housing and workers’ welfare, calling on the state government to implement the 40 percent increment to the state workers as done by the Federal Government.