26th March, 2012
The face-off between civil servants in Oyo state, southwest Nigeria, and state government ended Monday as Governor Abiola Ajimobi approved N19,987.14 as minimum wage for the workers across board.
The governor also presented a new payment schedule to the organised workers as he asked the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to send representatives tomorrow to examine the new schedule.
The salary however came with a condition as the governor noted that the only way the state government could sustain the payment of the new salary was for the workers to work assiduously to improve on the internally-generated revenue (IGR).
For over a week, the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage approved by the Federal Government had pitched the workers against the state government, as the government initially said it would be difficult for it to pay it, considering the poor revenue Federal Government allocates to the state and low internally generated revenue, IGR.
The government’s position irked labour unions which embarked on strike since 19 March 2012 after the purported sack of the authentic labour leaders, a move which the government declared as illegal.
The tension generated by the development forced the governor to call for an interactive session with the civil servants. The meeting started around 11 a.m. and ended after 3.p.m. Monday.
Speaking after the over four hours parley held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, Ajimobi painted the gloomy picture of the state’s finances, saying that government would require N4.1 billion monthly to pay the new wage while the total revenue accruing to the state on monthly basis amounted to N4.55 billion.
This, he said, was further worsened by the fact that the state’s IGR only covered 26 per cent of the total expenditure and that the state had the highest work force of 38,000 and 13,000 pensioners in the whole of the South-West geo-political zone, with salaries and wages gulping 92 per cent of the total income.
In spite of these, Ajimobi said that his administration was not ready to retrench any worker in order to pay the new minimum wage, stressing therefore that measures had to be fashioned out to increase the IGR from its present N1.1 billion monthly to N3.5 billion monthly within the next one year and to N100 billion annually by 2015.
To achieve this, he said that some of the hitherto neglected areas of revenue generation had to be explored.
These, he said, include the upgrade of the Bola Ige International Business Complex, Ibadan, improved vehicle registration process; introduction of Land Use Charge, Signage charges, Transportation system, Recertification of Business Premises, improved Title Perfection Process; Quarry Levy and Agriculture Tariff among others.
According to him, these are aimed at obtaining best result out of the state resources; ensuring effective control over the use of state resources; ensuring effective budgetary control as well as finding better use for state assets.
Ajimobi also succeeded in getting the commitment of the civil servants to work assiduously to improve on the state’s IGR and eradicate corruption in the system.