Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Saturday, 21 December, 2019 that his government was on the same page with civil servants on the new N30,000 minimum wage for workers.
The Governor, who noted that his administration had only on Friday, 20 December, 2019 set up a committee to oversee the negotiation and implementation of the new minimum wage, stated that civil servants and the government were going to be reasonable on the all-important matter.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde made the disclosure during the quarterly live interview programme, Meet the Governor, on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS).
The statement added that the Governor alerted the people to a number of noticeable achievements and deliverables recorded by his administration within the last 200 days, just as he informed that his administration was able to deliver so far due to prudent management of resources.
Besides, he also said that he and members of his administration have been making sacrifices, as according to him, service to the people has been of uppermost concern.
Governor Makinde stated that his government has never kept the organised Labour in the state and all stakeholders in dark over the resources accruing to the state.
He added that though the state was already aware of the cost implication of the new minimum wage, the government and the civil servants would be reasonable because they were heading in the same direction of delivering good governance and development to Oyo State.
The Governor, who addressed a wide range of issues raised by the three-man panel of interviewers and residents of the states who made phone calls into the programme, said that though the government had been getting a good report about security in the state following the immense efforts of the administration in redesigning the security architecture; distribution of security vehicles and procurement of communication equipment, among other steps, it was not going to rest on its oars.
He commended the security agents saddled with the responsibility of policing the state and the people for their cooperation, noting that statistics have shown that the state has recorded the lowest crime rates in this Yuletide period.
He stated that the development was a confirmation of the fact that his administration has taken security a notch higher in the state.
He said: “On the minimum wage issue, yesterday [Friday], we set up the committee that will engage with the Nigeria Labour Congress. The truth is, if we don’t deceive ourselves, everyone will be reasonable. NLC too knows that we are open with the amount of money we are getting as federal allocation. That is why we are in harmony.
“I have told them that we are going to get the matter resolved and they keyed into that because of the sincerity of purpose and transparency, they have found in this government. In fact, we know the cost-implication of the new minimum wage and the formula the Federal Government brought out on it.
“If we adopt it without negotiating, we know the amount that will still be needed to meet up. And we also put it on the table to them to analyse if Oyo State really can meet up with the amount that will be needed aside undertaking some other development projects in the state.
“One thing I can promise the people is, this is a new government, a new dawn and there is a new thinking between government and all other stakeholders, because we are all pulling in one single direction, which is delivering good governance and development agenda.”
Governor Makinde stated that the reason his administration has been able to pay workers salaries, pensions and gratuities as and when due as well as record some other key deliverables across the four key pillars of his administration was due to the prudent management of resources and the personal sacrifices of all political office holders in the state.
He explained that among the various measures employed by the administration to effectively manage resources in other to have funds for developmental projects, he and other functionaries in the government had been using their private vehicles in the last six months, noting that this step has saved the state up to N3 billion to N4 billion, which could have been expended on vehicles.
He explained further that his administration has put an end to the era of frivolous approvals, while also giving clear-cut priorities to projects and programmes that can be embarked upon in the interest of Oyo State people.
Governor Makinde maintained that the new thinking and approach, apart from freeing up funds for the development has also contributed to raising the interest of the private sector in partnering with the government to develop the state.
He said that one of the benefits the state has derived from his style of administration was the fact that the beautification efforts on major roundabouts in Ibadan with Christmas Lighting Systems around Ibadan, the state capital was done by the private sector at no cost to the state.
He said: “It is true that when we came in, we cannot be talking about the money we met on the ground because if we do, some people won’t be allowed to walk freely in the street. If you look at it, till now, I am using my personal cars for office work. We have not also gotten cars for any of the political office holders. If we want to get that done, we will be talking about N3 billion or 4billion Naira. So, we stepped it down. We had to prioritise on what we think we can do for the people of Oyo State who gave us this mandate.
“We wanted to see how we can stabilize the government to suit the interest of the people first and not running after our selfish interest. We need to say this too; those that are involved should take note of this. On the 6th of May, those who worked with the past administration collected N5.2 billion and left 19,000 Naira as of the 29th of May. Those involved will still have to explain to the people.
“That was why we had to seek the approval of the State Assembly to borrow 10 billion Naira because I have to be honest, I was very scared. We found out that the state’s funds were in about 60 accounts. In one account, we found 300 million Naira. In another, we found 20 million Naira and many others like that. So, I called the Accountant-General that the monies which are in different accounts should be pulled together and, after that was done, it amounted to about 6 billion Naira. We summoned ministries, departments, and agencies to come and give an account of what the monies were meant for. After we did that, we were able to get some money to start doing some things in the state.
“Also, our internally generated revenue has gone up a little bit because we have been able to block some loopholes of financial recklessness. Some people approached me on the way they used to go about sharing money but I shunned them.
“I want to also tell the people that the government did not spend a dime on Christmas on the street. Some people came and said they have made it a point of duty to always gift some money to the Governor every year. So, I told them not to give me anything. I asked the Commissioner for Finance to pull all the money together and look for someone that can do Christmas Decoration for the state. So, all the monies went into the beautification exercise we are seeing today. I believe that we have to continue on that path of parsimony. Until we finish expanding our economy, that is when respite can come to us all.
“Even, the civil servants know that any frivolous approval will not fly, once it gets to my table. So, that is how we have been managing with the available resources, which has made us achieve what we have on the ground now.
“If you also look at some of the projects we have awarded, contractors have cut down on the bill they charged us. When we awarded the Moniya-Iseyin road, it was for 9.9billion Naira. The one awarded by the Federal Government was double that amount and even a palliative measure awarded on the same road was awarded by the previous administration, you know how much it was. What we are embarking on is a total reconstruction project and the contractor we gave the job to assured us that nothing will happen to the road for the next ten years. So, from all the wastages we have been cutting out, we have achieved a lot for the people. The good work has not stopped, it is extravagant spending that we have stopped.”
On the issue of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Governor Makinde maintained the committee set up by the state to negotiate with a similar committee from Osun State had been given one term of reference, to negotiate separation of ownership from Osun State, adding that he was confident that with the quality of individuals on the committee, the state would get a positive result.