As organized labour in the country warms up to tackle state governments that are still prevaricating over the implementation of approved national minimum wage of N30,000, Edo State Government says it has commenced payment to its workforce with effect from January 2020. Special Adviser to the State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, confirmed this in a statement, in Benin City, on Tuesday. The state governor, Godwin Obaseki had reiterated the commencement of the new wage in his New Year broadcast to the people of the state.
Osagie said though modalities for the payment of the new minimum wage were finalised during the preparation of the 2020 budget, the governor, in his new year message made it clear that the payment would commence in January this year. According to him, “The Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has commenced the payment of the new minimum wage. The payment kicked off officially from January 2020 and workers are expected to notice adjustments in their salaries and wages starting from this month. We have made necessary adjustments to our payroll to ensure the full commencement of the new minimum wage. This is in line with our determination for a robust welfare scheme for workers in the state”.
Osagie explained that workers’ welfare in the state remained a priority for the Obaseki-led administration as part of efforts to motivate public servants for optimal service delivery.
Recall that during the May 1, 2016 Workers’ Day celebration, the immediate past governor of the state, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, had magnanimously jacked up the minimum wage payable in the state from the N18,000 national benchmark to N25,000 in what was apparently a befitting parting gift to workers in the state. Oshiomhole was the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, for eight years before he became governor November 12, 2008. The former number one worker in the state had explained at a forum in August 2016 that “I have increased the minimum wage when my colleagues are debating that it is too high, and I insisted that it is too small. I decided to increase it to show that not only that it is too small but it is possible to increase it and pay it”. Oshiomhole was to proudly announce that “we are not in arrears of one month salary in Edo State. We are up to date for all those who are in direct employment in the state government, including teachers at all levels”.
The Federal Government had approved a new national minimum wage April 18, 2019. But while the Federal civil servants have started to enjoy the full benefits of the wage increase, many states are still foot-dragging with the Nigerian Labour Congress threatening a showdown with state governors that are clay-footed in implementing it.