Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State met with members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TLC), yesterday, to mark the annual International Workers’ Day and readdress the relationship between the government and the labour force.
This was at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, where the Edo State Governor outlined his plans for rejuvenating the civil service to loud cheers from hundreds of Union members gathered.
Governor Obaseki appreciated what he described as “the strategic place of workers in the wealth creation process” of the state, disclosing that he would stand with both unions and their affiliates to improve working conditions and reward systems for workers in the state.
“I have no doubt that working together and putting the interest of our state first, we can rapidly reposition our state for peace and progress,” he began.
“Be assured that this Government will not take your support for granted. Our most valued asset as a government is our workers. Labour and Government must collaborate to assist the Local Governments to restructure so they would be better positioned to address their perennial problems of unpaid salaries and pensions, low revenue generation and poor service delivery,” he said.
He also added that it would be recidivistic if the government owed salaries to workers, so he would ensure that all salaries are paid by the 26th of every month.
While the TUC Chairman, Comrade Ohue Marshall had earlier commended the governor for his policies and urged him to devote even more attention to the civil service buildings, the governor responded by saying that the expectation of the people would be better met if the state’s most valued asset – the civil and public services – were performing effectively, efficiently and collaboratively.
On that account, he therefore reiterated his vow to renovate the Palm House and State Secretariat, adding that the government was concluding plans for a new administrative building in the Government House.
Nonetheless, to uptick productivity in the workforce, the governor revealed that the Civil Service Training School would be revivified and the state would invest in retraining its workers before deploy cutting edge technology as a tool to enhance service delivery.
To accomplish his promises, the governor called on both unions to work with it in ensuring efficiency and productivity, as its efforts to curb waste in revenue and productivity had already witnessed internally generated revenue (IGR) double.
He charged the workers that: “The Labour movement should draw inspiration from the patriotism, sacrifice and contributions of it past leaders and heroes to chart a new paradigm. Our administration has zero tolerance for corruption and inefficiency. I therefore expect a partnership that would eradicate such bad practices where they exist in the public and civil services. In this way, we can build and sustain a culture of accountability, transparency and productivity”.