The Edo State Head of Service, Mr. Anthony Okungbowa has said the civic-tech organization, BudgiT, is wrong to have alleged that Edo workers are owed six months salary arrears.
In a statement, Okungbowa described BidgIT's report as false and baseless, noting that the claim was misleading.
According to him, “Edo workers are happy and have never had it so good.”
The Head of Service said Governor Obaseki prioritises the development of the public service and the welfare of public servants in the state.
He said the State Governor has repeatedly acknowledged the public service as the engine of government and has not only expressed his determination to transform it but has actually made good his promise.
According to him, “For purposes of emphasis, Edo State Government under the pragmatic leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki is not owing workers in the state public service any arrears of salaries.
“Edo ranks highest among States of the Federation that prioritize the welfare of their workforce and this was recently demonstrated, as has often been done, when on May 1, 2022, the Governor raised the minimum wage from N30,000 to N40,000 at a time when many states were struggling to pay the minimum of 30,000 Naira and some have infact reneged on it. It is interesting to note that payment of this new wage commenced in the same month of May that the Governor announced it and workers have, since then, been smiling home every month with their new wages.
“It is pertinent to note that there was no prompting, neither was there any agitation by the Organized Labour for the raise in wages as has virtually always been the case in the past. In fact, the gesture took the Labour unions in the state by surprise as its leadership got to know about it on the day of its announcement by the Governor during the May Day Celebration at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on May 1, 2022.
“Government has been unfailing in its commitment to the payment of the new wage since then and has made it a point of duty, just as it has consistently done with the payment of salaries, to pay the new upwardly reviewed salaries on or before the 26th day of every month.”
Okungbowa also highlighted the numerous successes recorded by the administration of Godwin Obaseki in different areas of the public service, including the renovation of the secretariat buildings as well as the construction and renovation of other public buildings; the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy and the recent introduction of e-governance in all ministries, departments and agencies of government, a feat that is unprecedented in Edo and unrivalled by any state government in Nigeria.
He stated that it was noteworthy that at a time some sub-national governments in the country are retrenching workers, Edo State Government is engaged in vigorous and merit -based recruitment exercises across the service.
He insisted that a government defaulting in meeting its wage obligation to its workers cannot embark on employing more workers.