Nigeria is currently facing the worst cost of living crisis in decades, with inflation on the rise and the burden on households and businesses soaring heavily. The trigger is the “Subsidy is Gone” declaration which ushered in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration on May 29, 2023. This shot up the cost of petrol with a spill-over effect on other goods and services including food, cooking gas, and transportation, among others.

While several States still grapple, contemplating their next moves, Governor Godwin Obaseki has taken proactive measures, implementing policies and strategies to reduce the pains and ameliorate the sufferings that Edo people face due to the current realities, in furtherance of the government’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of residents of the State.

At the onset, when it became clear that Nigeria’s economy was going to take a beating, months before it became apparent to many that Nigeria’s economy was heading south, the Edo State Government increased the minimum wage paid to its workers from the recommended N30,000 national minimum wage to N40,000.

It is on record that Edo State pays the highest minimum wage in the country.

While a more sustainable strategy to tackle the cost of living crisis was being put in place, the Edo State Government introduced a three-day work week for its civil and public servants below level 14 as well as for basic school and senior secondary school children. This experimental policy of a three-day work week strengthened our EdoBEST@Home initiative to allow for more virtual classrooms, thereby reducing the cost of commuting for parents, teachers and pupils.

To reduce the cost of transportation for workers, students, and businesses, Governor Obaseki in September 2023 introduced the free transport service which has so far benefitted over 2.3 million residents since its launch.

The scheme which covers both inter and intra-city services operated by the State-owned Edo City Transport Services (ECTS) has so far saved commuters over N1bn which would have been expended on transport costs if they were to pay for the services. These savings, the commuters say, are now used for more urgent and pressing needs, like food and rent.

Recognizing the importance of agriculture in stabilizing food prices and enhancing food security, Governor Obaseki has sustained investment in the agricultural sector, supporting farmers in the State with inputs for production and other incentives.

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The government has also given out tonnes of maize, rice and other food items to vulnerable residents in the State, including orphanages, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), as well as religious organizations and civil society groups, among others.

The Edo State Government under the leadership of Governor Obaseki also recently launched the operation “Feed the Hungry Initiative”, committing N1 billion monthly to the programme set up to feed the poor and vulnerable residents, as part of measures to cushion the effects of the economic pains on the people of the State. This programme, which is novel, has been driven and coordinated by the churches and other religious organizations.

The government is assisting and supporting several Muslim groups across the 18 local government areas of the State during the Ramadan fasting period with food and other items.

Our government is also prioritizing the health and welfare of older citizens of the State and has boarded all pensioners to the State’s Health Insurance Scheme, thereby reducing out-of-pocket expenditure for the elderly persons. This is as the gratuities of these pensioners are being paid to push cash back into their pockets. Of course, the pensioners are paid like clockwork monthly.

This is amid other ongoing efforts at improving the living conditions of residents in the State, including infrastructural development, and other measures to empower and improve the business environment.

There’s no gainsaying the fact that Governor Obaseki is leading the way in ameliorating the impact of the cost of living crisis in the Country. His dedication to the welfare of Edo people, his passion for improving their livelihoods, and his commitment to progressive governance is unprecedented.

In Edo, we have a good story to tell!!!

is the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation.