Benin — Edo State Government has restored the old Teachers Salary Allowance enjoyed by teachers in the state.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole who made the disclosure yesterday at a meeting with the executives of the Nigeria Union of Teachers and Academic Staff Union of Secondary School (ASUSS) also informed the teachers of government's plan to implement the new tax regime of 40% reduction in Pay As You Earn from April.
He said the plan to restore the old TSA was to motivate the teachers and make the teaching profession attractive.
"We have looked at the whole thing. I appreciate the challenges on your part. When people have been used to enjoying an advantage over others, when you now bring them at par, it is as if that incentive to teach disappears.
I appreciate you know why that happened. But we have been looking inwards since then as I promised you that we would come back and revisit and find an amicable solution. I realize things are still going to be tough but I believe we can find a way to squeeze and accommodate something".
"Of course, I know that the TSA is supposed to be 27.5% of the basic salary, but then as things are, what I am able to put for you now one is the old structure and we will still wait to see if things improve in the future. But right now, even this it is tough but because I gave my word I want to try and keep my word, so that next time when I give my word, you can trust me," he noted.
The governor noted that things have not remarkably improved for the state ,, adding that on the contrary, the Federal Government decided to use $72 per barrel benchmark for crude oil in this year's budget from $75 per barrel in last year's budget, meaning the income to states from the federation account will drop.
"We are going to earn less than what we earned last year, which is strange. We are expected to pay higher wages as result of the minimum wage and our revenue is dwindling. You also know we are recoding the Pay As You Earn that will lead to an average of almost 40% reduction in tax. The present tax you are paying will be reduced. Obviously you will have more money in your pocket".
"We want to re-introduce in monetary terms, not in percentage wise, exactly the same amount that you were enjoying before it was suspended. That amount you enjoyed, not the percentage would be used. It would be a special allowance and it would take effect from April 1st and it would be reflected in your April salary," he noted.
According to Oshiomhole "if I follow the figure on ground even this is going to be huge challenge for the state government and also for the local governments who are the direct employers of primary school teachers. We are doing this because of our labour background.
As members of NUT, you belong to an association that can check what is happening in other states".
The Chairman of NUT in Edo State, Comrade John Ikosimi , who acknowledged the giant strides in development in the state, thanked the Governor for restoring the TSA.
He said: "we are pleased with this gesture of government and we assure you of our loyalty and we shall do all we can to sustain your investment in the education industry"