Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration will not give room for a return to the era of thuggery when traders and workers lived in fear of the activities of miscreants who harassed them in the market and their workplaces under the guise of collecting revenue for government.
Obaseki made the submission during a meeting with newly elected officials of the Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Edo State chapter, led by the Chairman, Mr Sunny Osayande, at the Government House, in Benin City.
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to an integrated revenue management system, which has no room for thugs collecting government revenue.
“We will never go back to where we are coming from. Oredo’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) was N7 million when I came in but today working with the union and by digitalising the process, we now earn N70 million and we can do more,” he said.
“This is why we can now pay salaries and pensions. If I allow people on the streets to collect revenue, how will I pay salaries? I am being threatened and harassed with election, but I will ever remain focused and never be distracted as I continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of Edo State.
“As a state, we have all the resources but need to manage these resources well to serve the interest of Edo people rather than serving the interest of a few. That is what I am doing; I am putting the people first,” he added.
Obaseki noted that his administration will continue to prioritise the welfare of workers in the state, stressing that regular payment of salaries was the right of workers.
He noted: “I will like to commence payment of the new minimum wage immediately or as soon as possible, so setting up a technical committee made up of government officials and labour is important.”
He said the state government is refurbishing the old Staff Training College and equipping it with gadgets and teaching aids to enable workers go on training for at least once or twice yearly.
Obaseki expressed appreciation to the immediate past leadership of the NLC led by Comrade Emma Ademokun for creating a peaceful atmosphere for his administration to operate with no record of industrial disharmony.
He said, “The greatest asset of any institution, a government or a private company is the workforce. Take away the workforce, nothing much will be achieved. As an administration, we will give priority to our workers.”
The newly elected Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Sunny Osayande, appealed to the governor to extend the healthy working relationship established with the immediate past executive of the union, to the new council.