Jethro Ibileke/Benin: Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has assured Nigerians that the nation will survive the difficult period it is passing through. Oshomhole who spoke while playing host to members of the National Association of Professional Women Builders in Nigeria at the Government House in Benin, reminded them that hard times won’t last forever.
He assured that in spite of the tough times, the state government will continue to meet its obligation in the payment of workers’ salaries.
“You are coming at a time when things are very tough, even to pay salaries. At the National Economic Council, we were put on notice by the Minister of Finance that although last month was the worst for allocation in the past ten years, this month will even be worse than last month. So, it’s a challenging period.
“All of us in government have all bought into it and that iswhy we must give priority to the payment of salaries and allowances because more than 90 percent or 95 percent of salaries earners don’t have private homes.
They are tenants; so when you don’t pay their rent, they are embarrassed before their landlords. Typically, they cannot attract credit. Even if they were to attract credit, nobody will lend you to buy food because there is no collateral for that. And a husband loses respect before his wife because he cannot feed her.
It is the same thing; a mother loses respect before the children if they are crying of hunger and you are telling stories, and there is no sign of fire in the kitchen. “So for this and much more, and of course, the fact that I spent all my life fighting for workers, I understand the meaning of the pay day to the salary earner.
So, for that reason, we have to pay salaries, and we just found out that for some time now, it is becoming very challenging to meet that obligation, but I am determined that we must continue to meet it. “You must have heard that we have raised the minimum wage by 38 percent from N18,000.00 to N25,000.00, with some token adjustments across the board.
This is just to show that I do appreciate the hard times that we are all in. Some can bear it much more than others. Unfortunately, poorer people tend to have more children, and so we have to show that we care. “We won’t wait until they call a strike. So, we are determined to implement the new minimum wage in the state with effect from this month.
Over the next few days, it will be due, and then I will be put on notice. I found from experience that every good intention one has, God has a way of enabling him to fulfil it. So, this hard time will pass and government will be able to fulfil its obligation,” Oshiomhole said. Speaking earlier, the President of the Association of Professional Women Builders in Nigeria, Dr. Adama Kawu-Mohammed, who was represented by the Vice-President, Mrs. Adenike Said, said they were in Benin to commend Governor Oshiomhole for his landmark infrastructural development and the equal opportunity he has given the women in the State. She said:
“We have found it worthy as a group of professionals to come and commend you for the developmental strides and good work well done and still doing for the good people of Edo State especially in the beautiful environment, and special attention and equality given to the female gender in your government.
“We recognize that this is a particularly trying period for the leadership across the country especially the state governments where so many state governments couldn’t live up to their responsibilities due to economic downturn, but we congratulate you for your efforts and fighting for the people of Edo State.”