Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has announced that workers and pensioners in the state will get N25,000 and N15,000 monthly cash awards for the next six months.
He did, however, emphasise that the workers and the people of the state would have to collaborate with the state government to build the state’s economy in the long run, as he believes that if the state’s economy is prosperous, everyone would be affected.
During a solidarity rally, the governor addressed workers at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
He stated that, while his government would like to focus on legacy projects that would be recognised decades after he leaves office, it will continue to prioritise the wellbeing of its employees.
Makinde maintained that the salary award of N25,000 and N15,000 for workers and pensioners, respectively, would be paid for the month of October and then for another five months until an agreement on a new minimum wage was achieved.
He stated that the cash reward will result in an extra N2.2 billion on the state’s monthly salary bill, citing the fact that the state had numerous holes to address in the infrastructure, health, and education sectors, hence the need for workers’ understanding.
He said, “We have been talking with your leaders but one or two things I have to point out first is we should ask ourselves how come Lagos that is only 120 kilometres away has an IGR of N60 billion monthly but we are struggling with N3.5 billion or N3.8 billion. It was N1.8 billion when we came in during our first tenure.
“So, we must decide that we want to work to lift the economy of Oyo State. If we provide economic prosperity in Oyo State, it will get to everyone. I am asking you that we have to partner to achieve that vision.”
The governor told the workers that he had held a meeting with labour leaders and had reached an agreement.
He said, “So, what we agreed when we met was I said yes, there is the need to cushion the effect of the economic challenges on the workers. The Federal Government did N35,000 and I said what can we do in Oyo State and we have agreed that we would do a cash award too.
“We agreed that pensioners will be given N15,000 cash award monthly, while workers will get N25,000 monthly. If you want to negotiate further, it is okay. But this cash award will add N2.2 billion to the wage bill of Oyo State.
“We must know something, that we have the workers, and we have the generality of the people as well. Oyo State’s population is between eight and nine million, how do we look after them? Everyone is going through this serious hardship.”
Makinde added that the state had put in place the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER) initiative, which comprised interventions through food relief, ease of transportation, empowerment of farmers, agripreneurs and small scale business operators as well as health insurance for residents and pensioners to mitigate the effects of the economic hardship on residents of the state.
Makinde explained that the wage award is meant to make things go well for workers, and by extension the teeming population of the state.
In his response, the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State, Kayode Martins, said the declaration by the government had ended all grievances, saying, “We appreciate and are grateful to His Excellency on this development and I think that will take us to some level.
“All the stakeholders were there at the meeting and I can tell you that the agitation has ended. We are no longer aggrieved with the government.
“The governor spoke to the people and they reached a conclusion. So, what else do we have to do? The governor agreed to start the payment in full from October and we feel that it is a very good point to start from.”