The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has assured workers in the State that his administration will be the first to implement the resolution reached at the emergency meeting between the Federal Government and state governors over the new minimum wage for workers in the country.
Obaseki gave the assurance while addressing members of the organised labour who were on a protest march to the Government House, in Benin City on Tuesday, to sensitise the people on the planned labour strike over the Federal Government's alleged refusal to agree on N30,000 minimum wage for workers across the country.
The assurance is coming after Chairman of Edo State Chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Comrade Jenkins Osunde, said on Monday, that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has cleared 50 per cent of inherited salary arrears owed local government workers in the state.
The governor, in his address to the members of the labour unions, said his administration is already paying N25,000 while other states are paying N18,000, noting, "We believe in labour and our government is labour-friendly that is why we have maintained a harmonious relationship with labour in the state and have not had a single strike in two years".
He informed the protesters that he will be in Abuja to attend a meeting where governors are to deliberate on the minimum wage. "I want to assure you that whatever we agree in Abuja today (Tuesday), Edo State Government will be the first to implement it," he assured.
Obaseki urged the protesters to trust in the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari because of its commitment to reduce the suffering of workers in the country, "The President Muhammadu Buhari I know will never support that Nigerian workers should suffer because he is committed to the welfare of the common man".
Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Edo State Chapter, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, commended the Governor for creating a friendly atmosphere that has ensured a harmonious relationship between the government and organised labour in the State.
Earlier, at the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) meeting presided over by the governor at the Government House, Benin City on Monday, Osunde said N2,826,548,288.8 was declared by the committee as gross allocation received from the Federation Account for the month of October 2018.
He added that arrears inherited by the Obaseki-led administration is gradually being cleared as the sum has reduced by 50 per cent.
Osunde, who is also the Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area, said that primary school teachers' salaries for the month was N1,057,495,670.09, adding that "teachers and non-teachers' salaries gulped N1,113,114,841. The total deduction for the month was N1,706,248,913,34."
According to him, the net allocation shared by the 18 local government areas of the state from the Federation Account was N1,120,299,375.47, while Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from the 18 local government areas for the month of October 2018 was N1,298,091,758.68.
He noted that the state government has continued to meet its salary obligation to workers including salary arrears owed local government workers, which have been paid as and when due since March 2018.
"It is important to note that this month's JAAC meeting has in attendance Chairmen of the Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), as observers."