Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has increased the minimum wage of civil servants to N40,000 from the N30,000 former wage structure that was implemented in the state in January 2020.
Obaseki made the announcement on Sunday at the 2022 workers’ day celebration programme with the theme, “Labour, politics and the quest for good governance and development in Nigeria,” in Benin City.
The governor, who said the adjustment was to boost the productivity of workers and cushion the effect of economic hardship faced by the citizens, noted that his administration was ready to priorities the welfare of workers in the state.
“The government of Edo has decided to review the minimum wage for Edo workers from N30,000 to N40,000 a month. Undoubtedly, Edo is the first state since the outbreak of coronavirus to take this initiative.
“Even though we would have loved to pay more, we hope that this little adjustment would help to cushion the impact of the inflation that we face. There is no doubt that the financial implications will be heavy and put another burden on the government,” Obaseki said.
He equally noted that the agreement reached with the union of pensioners as regards harmonisation of pensions would take effect from May 2022.
The governor’s promise came against the backdrop of a protest by some group of pensioners in Edo State, who retired in 2012, over the non-payment of their gratuities at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium venue of this year’s May Day celebration.
The senior citizens, dressed in black attires, carried placards with inscriptions such as “Pensioners are dying, please give us hope to live; 2012-2013 authority to pay paper collected in 2017, pay us; We are on our knees begging you to pay gratuity”.
Obaseki, who said he was particularly interested in the senior citizens’ welfare because they are one of the most vulnerable in the society, added that the state government took interest in the payment of outstanding pensions to the pensioners in spite of the fact that they were owed by the previous administration.
“In view of the prevailing economic circumstances, I have now approved, effective this May, the agreement we reached with the union of pensioners that the harmonized amount would be paid from May 2022.
“Government is aware of the difficulties faced by the pensioners due to the non-payment of pension and gratuities to pensioners by the previous government, this responsibility is huge and it will require a substantial part of our resources to settle them.
“However, we are not a government that is known for running away from its challenges; we will look for a way to tackle these challenges,” he said.
Earlier, the organised labour, who commended the governor for the successes recorded in the past five years of the current administration, however, decried the worsening insecurity situation and hunger across the country.
Marshall Ohue, chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Edo State Council, said as the general elections approach, TUC’s support will only be for those candidates whose antecedents are labour friendly and have shown enough commitment to the course of Nigeria workers.