Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has approved a five percent pay rise for health workers.
The governor said the wage increment is for all health workers including laboratory technicians, nurses and midwives.
The state government had earlier in the month also raised doctors’ pay by the same level after extensive negotiations
It announced the new increase while receiving members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), who visited him at Government House, Benin City, on the government’s invitation.
The state government’s pay rise came even as many states in the country are presently struggling to pay wages, with many owing workers’ salary arrears for up to five months.
“I asked you to come over because I know that two years ago, we had a wage review based on certain criteria which you preferred to call 90% but for me, that was what we were willing to pay and were able to pay at that time,” Mr. Oshiomhole said.
“And I did say that when situation improves, we would look at it and make some further upward adjustment.”
“However, I do recognize that for us to maintain our integrity in the eyes of our workers, when promises have been made in good faith, as much as possible, we should try to keep those promises.”
“It is no secret that Nigeria’s economy is in crisis. We are burdened not only by low price of crude oil; we are also saddened by massive looting and diversion from public treasury at the federation level.
“So, I want you to accept this as a mark of my own commitment in ensuring that even at this time in our national crisis, that the workers are recognized as a critical agent in the process of governance and our sheer commitment to take Edo State to the highest level,” Mr. Oshiomhole said.
In his response, the chairman of JOHESU, Osaretin Agbonlahor described the pay rise as a motivating factor and thanked Governor Oshiomhole for the gesture.
Meanwhile, Governor Oshiomhole has warned that the low power supply by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to Edo State poses a threat to the security of lives and properties in the state.
Speaking during a meeting he held with the management of BEDC at the Government House, Governor Oshiomhole said, “There are a couple of concerns. Sometimes, we have seen some protests, some violent reactions and obstructions and stories about properties being stolen and vandalized; and every day, I am confronted with protests by various communities who are in the dark: either their transformer is not working or it has broken down.”
“There are bills people are paying even without light; or they are being over-billed based on estimates as they have no meters.”
“Even the House of Assembly has just spoken to me that they need to spend some money to set up a sub-station that will give more regular power supply. Right now, they are getting less than 4 hours a day in their residential area. That is an arm of government. They have made a request for a substantial investment for us to provide part of the cost in a distribution chain, and when we provide that and they have access to power, how do we get our refund?”
“Recently, the Commissioner of Police wrote to me that the Police Headquarters is in the dark, and that is a serious issue because in the Police Headquarters, we have cells where there are inmates. And of course, you have offices. Police is 24 hour operation.”
“Now out of desperation, I have to buy, using tax payers’ money to provide a transformer to the Police Headquarters.”
“I mentioned this because we used Edo people’s money to buy transformer, and you told me now that they have power. Now, what happens when you generate bills?” he asked rhetorically.
Responding, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer BEDC, Funke Osibodu, explained how the company shares electricity for consumers amidst difficult generation.
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