Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Friday announced a slash of the salaries of all his senior political appointees by 50 per cent. He said that was their contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in the state.
Mr Makinde said the cut takes immediate effect.
He disclosed this while addressing workers at a Workers’ Day event at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Secretariat in Ibadan, the state capital.
He also announced that the state’s lawmakers had agreed to cut their salaries by 30 per cent.
The governor, however, assured the workers that the cut would not affect them and that their salaries would continue to be paid regularly by the 25th of every month.
While noting that the next couple of months would be difficult, especially because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Makinde said his government is working hard to mitigate the shock of the pandemic on the state’s economy.
He said his administration has also approved the second phase of the light up Oyo project to improve the infrastructure of the state.
“When I was taking over the affairs of government on May 29, 2019, I never envisaged that our first Worker’s Day celebration would happen without the usual pomp.
“No one would have thought at that time, that in just about a year, the world would be thrown into confusion as they struggle to understand a new strain of the Coronavirus disease. But as the saying goes, “you have to take the bad with the good.”
“Let me start by commending every worker in Oyo State as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just the health workers who are leading the charge and risking daily exposure to this disease, but the volunteers from various sectors who are working in little ways and big ways to ensure that we prevent, contain and control the spread of COVID-19 in our state.
“The next couple of months are going to be difficult ones, but we are working hard to mitigate the shocks to our economy.”
“We salute the workers who have had to sacrifice their earnings at this time, those whose businesses have been affected by the partial lockdown in Oyo State. Private schools cannot operate at this time. Event planners are also badly hit; you can’t run your operations when there are no gatherings.
“Night clubs have lost income; the curfews seem to be targeted at your business. Cinemas are facing huge losses. Transporters are taking cuts; they have been directed to operate at 60% capacity. The principles of social distancing have also affected the income of many more businesses and individuals who rely on their daily income. Many of you have lost your jobs. But as our people say, ” Ilé ọba t’ójó, ẹwà ló bùsi.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has struck. It is now the responsibility of us all to build something out of this pandemic that will make generations to come proud. Post COVID-19, we will be left with an economy which must be grown and sustained. This is why I ran for governor, for a time like this. I will make the tough decisions so that our economy can thrive.
“We want to get our economy back on track. This is why we have started opening up the system while keeping an eye on the reports from the Oyo State COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre.”
NLC Chairman, Adebayo Titilola-Sodo, in his address, had warned that the union would not accept any reduction in the salaries of workers, adding that the labour leaders believe that Governor Makinde will not join those planning to execute pay cut for workers.
TUC Chairman, Emmanuel Ogundiran, said in this difficult time, labour leaders expect the government not to focus on profit but on sustaining livelihood of people such that all will survive the pandemic.
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