Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has revealed that his administration in the first two years attracted investment worth $50 million to the state in its efforts to reduce over dependence on the federal revenue allocation.
Dr Fayemi, who stated this on Tuesday, 15 December, 2020 at the second Labour Roundtable meeting held at the Conference Hall of the Governor’s office said his administration had set some mechanism in motion by creating business opportunity and making the state a destination of choice for investors.
Present at the Roundtable were the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi and other top government officials.
Governor Fayemi who revealed that payment of salaries had been a miracle in view current economic downturn and the financial stress occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, however promised that his government would not renege on his responsibilities to workers.
While commending the labour leaders for their doggedness and the frank conveyance of the feeling of their members which included arrears of salaries and subventions, the Governor promised to ensure that all their agitations are met as long as the finances of the state improve. He expressed the fact that it was not reasonable to borrow to pay salaries.
Dr Fayemi expressed his commitment to minimum wage and expressed optimism that negotiation on consequential adjustment for grade level 7 and above would be completed before the end of the year.
He revealed that some states that have commenced minimum wage have now reverted to paying 50 percent or 70 percent to workers saying he did not want to commence what he would not be able to sustain, adding that he would rather keep people at work than promise what state finances cannot pay.
“The fact that we had maintained salary payment in Ekiti without fail is in itself a miracle but what we need to do is to find a mechanism to move away from dependency on that federal allocation by creating business opportunities and making our state an investment friendly state.
“And in the last year, we attracted about 50 million dollar investment, that is what we’ve done in the last two years, there are other investment that have come to the state, it is the only solution, Ekiti has to be investment friendly, and we have to also in our own way, we have to make it easy for businesses to run in order to reduce our dependence on federal allocation.
“I’m sure if there had been no Covid-19, we would have done quite a bit more on arrears and I don’t need to bore you with the situation we found ourselves, the IGR that had been a relative shock absorber is abysmally low, we have had to even offer concession to people who are paying taxes so that they would not suffer from the untoward effect of Covid-19.
“If there had been no Covid-19, we probably would have moved a lot faster, on settlement of arrears of salaries and subventions, and we would still try to do what we can with that, what we would not do is to borrow to pay salaries, its not just something I believe would be sustainable over a long time, that is not to say we should not do what you want us to do, but we should find a way to do it without borrowing, that for me is the solution to it.
“I am very optimistic that 2021 is going to be better for workers, it will bring a more improved financial situation for our state and automatically for our workers because in spite of the difficulties we make sure that, at least we kept things on an even bill.
“For nine months this year, our junior workers were not at work but we paid their salaries for the entire period.”
On the spate of insecurity nationwide, Dr Fayemi assured the people of the state that his administration would continue to ensure that underlying causes of insecurity which included poverty and unemployment would be tackled headlong.
He said his administration was already making adequate preparation against any form of banditry especially in the school by ensuring that all schools are fenced with security guards manning such institutions.
The Governor, who disclosed that virtually all those responsible for kidnapping in the state have been arrested, said his administration was set to strengthen Amotekun and other security outfits to be more active in their joint security patrol.
He noted that every resident of the state owe it a duty to be security conscious and should not be left to government alone. Dr Fayemi urged everyone to be vigilant and promptly report any heinous activities to security operatives.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Labour, Comrade Oluyemi Esan commended the Governor for maintaining good relationship with labour saying the state had witnessed improved government – labour relations.
Comrade Esan noted that despite some little differences with labour, crisis situations have always been averted because of the labour friendly posture of the governor.
In their goodwill messages, the Chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Kolapo Olatunde; the Trade Union Congress Chairman, Comrade Sola Adigun; and the Joint Negotiating Council Chairman, Comrade Kayode Fatomiluyi jointly gave kudos for Governor Kayode Fayemi’s developmental strides in the state especially for the various projects he initiated, completed and inaugurated during his second year anniversary.
The Labour leaders, who described Governor Fayemi as one with the wisdom of Awolowo also commended him for the legacy projects in the education, health and other sectors as well as the approval of advancement for 603 workers in the state saying its only Awolowo in the country that capitalized on education.