The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has commended workers in the state for their contribution to the peace and development of the state, reassuring that this government will sustain reforms and policies to guarantee better living standards for citizens.
Obaseki gave the assurance in Benin City while addressing Edo State workers during an event to mark 2021 Workers Day with the theme, “COVID-19, Social and Economic Crisis: Challenges for jobs, social protection and people’s welfare.”
Obaseki said the people of Edo State are the greatest assets of the government, reassuring his administration’s commitment to do more for Edo people.
He noted that the government was ready to collaborate with Edo State workers to expand the state’s tax net amid dwindling revenue from the federal government, adding “this will enable the Government generate more revenue to sustain decent jobs and provide social protection for the people of the State.”
Obaseki said: “It’s unfair for only workers to be paying taxes as out of the almost two million eligible tax payers in Edo, there are not more than 200,000 people paying tax.
“With the dwindling revenue from Abuja, how can we continue to do what we are doing in Edo if people do not contribute their quota through tax payment to support the State Government? I urge Edo State workers to collaborate with the Government to enlighten the citizens and encourage them to pay taxes.
“We are calling on workers to help us take the message out so that everyone in Edo can pay something. Without tax revenues, the State will not be able to discharge its responsibility. Government will be able to do more only if the people pay their taxes.”
“We must bring in as many eligible people as possible into the tax net to generate more revenue to develop the State,” he added.
Obaseki who acknowledged the support of the workers in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, attributed the support to success recorded in containing the virus and reducing its impact on the lives and livelihood of citizens of Edo State.
He noted: “Despite the uncertainty and disruption caused by coronavirus in Edo State, we have kept faith with our statutory obligation to our workers.
“We have ensured that salaries and pensions are paid as at when due. We have ensured adequate protection to keep our workers safe. The backlogs of arrears have been cleared as promised four years ago.
“We have successfully migrated our workers to the Contributory Pension Scheme. We want to continue the implementation of contributory pension scheme at the local government level.”
The governor continued: “I made a commitment to restructuring the civil and public service through the introduction of technology, hiring more professionals, training and retraining staff of Edo State and revamping the system and processes in the public service to ensure the Government is impactful on the citizens and provide high quality service to the people.
“Despite the COVID 19 pandemic challenges, we have continued with the tasks of reforming our work processes and building the capacity at the John Oyegun Training Center to drive effectiveness and efficiency in the Civil Service.”
“Our intention, in the long run, is to make the Edo State civil service the most modern, efficient and private sector facing governance machine in Africa. I appreciate the entire workers of Edo State without which we would not be able to deliver on our electoral promises,” he acknowledged.
Obaseki said to motivate the state’s workforce, his administration has ratified workers promotion from 2018 to 2019, reassuring that the promotion exercise for 2020 is currently ongoing and the process will be guarded by merit and reward for diligence in the dispatch of duties and responsibilities.
“We are fast-tracking the construction of the Labour House which you will be proud of. A place that will help deepen the cooperation for a robust engagement for the union and government,” he assured.
On his part, Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Edo State, Comrade Sunday Osanyande commended Governor Obaseki, noting that despite the challenges of COVID-19, the governor took an aggressive drive on industrialization, infrastructural revolution, implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage, reconstruction and revitalization of the moribund Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium to world-class sports facility and the prompt promotion of Edo State workers up to 2020.
Also, Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) Comrade Marshall Ohue, expressed appreciation to the governor for his tireless efforts in repositioning Edo State, adding that the foresight of the governor has helped in the construction of a befitting workers Secretariat, Technical College, Industrial Court, the Osiomo Power Plant and massive construction of roads across Edo State.