Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Wednesday that no staff in the State’s workforce would earn below the N30,000 national minimum wage.
He stated that once the Committee set up by his government to look into the modalities for the implementation of the wage completes its assignment, the Government will stand side by side with the workers to implement the decision.
The Governor noted that he was looking forward to a decision that would be agreeable to the civil servants as well as affordable and sustainable for the State government.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the Governor made the declarations during the annual inter-religious service to usher in the 2020 working year, held at the Car Park of the Governor’s Office.
The Governor also urged every resident of the State to join hands, put political affiliation and tribal sentiments aside to keep making Oyo State greater.
At the service, which was attended by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan; the Chief of Staff, Chief Oyebisi Ilaka; the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, political appointees and civil servants, the Head of Service, Mrs. Amidat Ololade Agboola, maintained that 2019 was filled with challenges but that God had counted those in attendance at the event worthy to see a New Year.
Agboola, who welcomed political office holders and workers to the service, maintained that it was in 2019 that God blessed Oyo State with a Governor like Makinde, whom she described as god-sent to the civil servants.
According to the Head of Service, the Governor has shown what leadership entailed: selflessness, even as she appreciated the Governor for demonstrating commitment to workers’ welfare and the repositioning of the civil/public service in the State.
She cited the payment of salaries as and when due since the administration took office, noting that the general public in the State had been sharing in happiness engendered by that act.
She also commended the Governor for giving the approval for the reinstatement of some officers in the civil/public service who were unjustly dismissed by the last administration; approval for Productivity/Merit Award to recognize the hard work of civil servants and the approval of N15 million for the renovation of offices in each of the ministries in the Secretariat Complex, among other areas.
She, therefore, charged civil servants to rise to the occasion by contributing their best quota towards developing the State, calling on them to give room for innovative ideas and a new way of doing things in the New Year.
In his speech, Governor Makinde maintained that though the administration was less than a year in office, it has causes to be thankful to God, because it has continued to enjoy tremendous goodwill, adding that it would not take the loyalty from the people for granted, as it will put in its best for the good of the people of the State in the New Year.
Governor Makinde, who gave thanks to God for some of the remarkable feats achieved by the Government in 2019, citing the increased funding to education, ongoing renovation and equipment of hospitals as well as the expansion of the State’s economy through investments in agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and infrastructure, among others, promised to continue on the path to growing and developing the State in the New Year.
He said: “As we gather here this morning for this inter-religious service to usher in a new working year, it is the best time for each one of us to reflect on our accomplishments last year and then plan how to become better versions of ourselves this year.
“Our elders say that as we travel through the forest, we must always shake the trees so that people who are watching can quickly tell the distance we have travelled. This administration has been here for less than a year but the expectations that the people have of us is enormous. But we should be thankful that we have been enjoying the tremendous goodwill from the people and we must never take their loyalty for granted. We must remain at the top of our game and put in our best for the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
“When the Imam of the Government House was admonishing us, he emphasised that we must not do three major things; not to divulge secrets, not to give wrong information and we should not talk evil of ourselves, but people do all these three things.
“Someone even said that he was the governor of yesterday and I am the governor of today and that tomorrow’s governor will also come to rule. But I am surprised, because I doubt if that former Governor remembered he would one day leave office when he was on the governor’s seat.
“And in the sermon we just listened to, we have been implored to do all things with the fear of God. So, because I know that another governor will rule tomorrow, I will do things with the fear of God.”
Governor Makinde, who used the occasion to commiserate with all victims of fire incidents across the State, warned civil servants and residents of the State to work towards preventing fire disasters in their personal lives by setting smart goals and planning adequately in the New Year.
He further said: “In a way, we also want to prevent personal fires in our lives this year and the best way to do that is by setting smart goal. So, we need to plan. Let us all set goals that will be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. And that is being SMART. We should plan now so that when we meet for the next inter-denominational service, we will be able to look back as we are looking back at 2019 now, and have a cause to be thankful.”
The Governor added: “Some people have said that all the things we have done in seven months are just cosmetic. Well, we are thankful for the progress in our education system. We have increased funding for the sector and we have been able to get some children off the street. We still have a lot more to do in this sector and we still believe that 2020 will be a good year for education in Oyo State.
“We are also thankful for the improvement in health care, as we have renovated and equipped some hospitals and started with the Health Insurance Scheme. It is my belief that civil servants and others will take the advantage of this scheme so that they do not have to pay out of pocket for health care.
“The Jericho Specialist Hospitals has been moved to a new location, which is bigger and spacious. And that is not cosmetic.
“We are thankful that the streets of Ibadan are now well lit up. We will extend the project to all major cities in the State this year. We are also taking steps to ensure the safety of lives and property for all living within the borders of Oyo State. Some palaces and markets have also been lit.
“We are also thankful for expanding the economy of Oyo State and it is our belief that we can use investment in agriculture, small and medium size enterprises and infrastructure to keep growing the economy. We will keep focusing on addressing the challenges that the SMEs in Oyo State face, especially multiple taxation.”
Addressing the issue of the N30,000 minimum wage, Governor Makinde assured the civil service in the State on his Government’s resolve to stand side by side with them to arrive at a point that would be agreeable to the workers as well as affordable and sustainable for the State, saying: “On the new minimum wage, the committee has been set up, they are working and moving towards alignment but I promise you that this administration and the workers of Oyo State are on the same page on this ongoing negotiation.
And when it is concluded, I give you the assurance that we shall stand side-by-side to announce to the whole world what we have agreed. “Whatever we will agree upon is going to be in the interest of the workers and our state. First, our collective decision will be agreeable to everybody. Second, it will be affordable. Third, it will be sustainable.
“Before this administration came into place on May 29, they were paying percentages as subvention to the higher institutions. “Just a month before the previous administration left, they moved it to 100 per cent and we have been paying it since we came in. I know that they do have agreement in some states and will still breach the agreement. But, here, once we sign that agreement, we will pay it.
“We won’t pay in percentages and I want to also state categorically that no worker in Oyo State will earn below the national minimum wage.”