NGF not against living wage for labour, Governor Oyebanji assures workers

…harps on fiscal federalism for states

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has said that State Governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) are not against approval of a living wage for Nigerian workers.

Governor Oyebanji, who made this clarification at the 7th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) in Ado- Ekiti on Wednesday, said what the NGF is clamouring for is fiscal federalism that would culminate in the ability and capability of individual states to pay.

He added that since no state in the Federation wants to engage in retrenchment of their workforce, it is incumbent on individual states to determine what they could afford that would not end up in the eventual downsizing of workforce.

“The NGF is not against the living wage, no Governor is against the minimum wage, but what we are saying is that it must reflect fiscal federalism, ability and capacity to pay. No Governor wants to retrench, if there is a minimum wage today without a concurrent increment in what we are earning, no state can pay, and that is the conversation we are having- that, look, we want to give you a living wage, but we must look at what comes to the states and whatever is in the best interest of the states and the workers, we will do.

The Governor used the opportunity to call on workers in Ekiti State to embrace agriculture, adding that his administration had cleared over 2,000 hectares of land to be allocated free of charge to interested Ekiti residents.

According to him, “My appeal to civil servants is that those who would like to be part of our Agriculture Revolution should form themselves into cooperative societies and approach the Ministry of Agriculture for support.

“It may be difficult to support individually but when you form yourselves into cooperatives, many opportunities are available now. We are clearing land free of charge, we are giving inputs and we are going to buy from you. As I speak today, we have cleared more than 2,000 hectares across Ekiti State.

Governor Oyebanji described civil servants as critical stakeholders in the administration of the state who represent the propelling force of the state’s machinery as well as key factor in the power structure of the State.

He reiterated the pivotal role civil servants play in the growth and development of the state especially in the realization of the Six Pillars of his administration, adding that whatever compliments the administration had received today as a result of its various achievements in office, can only be directly attributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the workers.

“I have come here today to associate and rejoice with you as major stakeholders in our body polity. More importantly, I am also here to learn from you and to share your experience. As you know, the civil service is a reservoir of talents where you can find all professionals of different callings and experiences.

“A conference like this does not benefit the senior civil servants alone, it is an avenue for all of us to learn from one another, cross-fertilize ideas, and share experiences. I am therefore not just here as a Special Guest of Honour, I am here as a student of Public Administration.”, the Governor stated.

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