BENIN CITY: Edo state Head of Service Anthony Osas Okungbowa Esq says the Civic-tech organization, BudgiT missed it in its conclusions that Edo Workers are owed salaries in arrears to the tune of six months.
In a statement which he personally signed, Okungbowa described as false and baseless, claims in that regard by BudgIT, insisting that the report was misleading.
According to him, Edo workers are happy and have never had it so good. The Head of Service was effusive in praising the Governor of Edo State for prioritising the development of the public service and the welfare of public servants in the state.
He said the State Governor has repeatedly acknowledged the public service as the engine of government and has not only expressed his determination to transform it but has actually made good his promise.
According to him “For purposes of emphasis, Edo State Government under the pragmatic leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki is not owing workers in the state public service any arrears of salaries.
“Edo ranks highest among states of the Federation that prioritize the welfare of their workforce and this was recently demonstrated, as has often been done, when on May 1, 2022, the Governor raised the minimum wage from 30,000 Naira to 40,000 Naira at a time when many states were struggling to pay the minimum of 30,000 Naira and some have infact reneged on it. It is interesting to note that payment of this new wage commenced in the same month of May that the Governonor announced it and workers have, since then, been smiling home every month with their new wages.
“It is pertinent to note that there was no prompting, neither was there any agitation by the Organized Labour for the raise in wages as has always been the case in the past. Infact, the gesture took Labour by surprise as its leadership got to know about it on the day of its announcement by the Governor during the May Day Celebration at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on May 1, 2022.
“Government has been unfailing with the payment of the new wage since then and has made it a point of duty, just as it has consistently done with the payment of salaries, to pay the new upwardly reviewed salaries on or before the 26th day of every month”.
Okungbowa also highlighted the numerous successes recorded by the administration of Godwin Obaseki in different areas of the public service to include the total infrastructure overhaul of the public service as can be clearly seen from the renovation of the secretariat buildings as well as the construction and renovation of others for the comfort of public servants across the state, intellectual property resource development of the service as evidenced by the new state- of -the -art facility named the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy and the recent introduction of e-governance in all ministries, departments and agencies of government, a feat that is unprecedented in Edo and unrivalled by any state government in Nigeria.
Also worthy of mention according to the Head of Service is the fact that at a time some sub-national governments in the country are retrenching their workers, Edo State Government is engaged in a vigorous and merit based recruitment exercises across the service. He insisted that a government defaulting in meeting its wage obligation to its workers wouldn’t like to employ more workers.
“The Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration prioritises the welfare of its workers as can be seen in the numerous worker-centric infrastructure renewal projects across the state which have made the work environment a most friendly one and a veritable source of envy among civil/public servants from other states of the Federation” Okungbowa said.
This the Head of Service said, explains why there has been unprecedented industrial peace and harmony in the state, a relationship he said can only be built on factual and honest interface with workers as against mere platitude and vainglory.
He advised Media outfits to always fact check their stories before going to the press.