Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Friday announced a 400 per cent increment in the Hazard Allowance of health officers for the month of April as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID -19 in the state.
Addressing leaders of labour unions at a low-key event to mark this year’s Workers’ Day, Mr Sanwo-Olu said his administration had also introduced a COVID-19 Allowance for all our frontline workers. He said it is “a very generous amount” that takes cognizance of the heightened risks of the jobs they have to do.
“All these are intended to appreciate the dedication of all our Health Officers in the fight against COVID-19,” he added.
The governor said the state government had procured additional life and health insurance for all frontline health workers to cater for the hazard they face in the ongoing battle against coronavirus, bringing it to two-level protection.
“This is in addition to the approval of increment in the hazard allowance of frontline emergency workers.
“I should also mention that we have put in place additional health and life insurance for all our frontline health workers in the state to ensure that they are adequately insured. This gives them insurance protection on two levels.”
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that health workers in the state have received N25,000 hazard allowance in April, as against the usual N5,000.
In his address, the governor said the commemoration of Workers’ Day should be a reminder to stakeholders that the concept of development must be far-reaching and inclusive for it to benefit the society in general.
Describing labour force as “a critical stakeholder” in good governance and “engine-room” of the economic growth, Mr Sanwo-Olu said his administration, since inception, had prioritised payment of new minimum wage to workers as a demonstration of his Government’s commitment to improving their welfare.
He also said his administration had continued to assist families of workers who die in the line of duty, adding that the State had not relented, despite COVID-19 pandemic, in paying 418 pensioners for their pension bond arrears.
He said: “It is only fitting that I dedicate this year’s commemoration of the Workers’ Day to celebrating the true heroes of this season, which are the health workers on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19.
“Since this virus started to ravage our communities and disrupt our lives, these heroes have not just been going to work daily, they have been going to war daily against this unseen enemy.
“Workers across public and private sectors, who are represented by various Labour Unions, are the engine-rooms of our economy, and the nucleus of wealth generation.
“My administration will always seek harmonious relationship with workers for the progress and prosperity of our State. The prompt approval and payment of the new minimum wage is a proof that we care about the welfare of our workforce.”
With effect from last January, Gov. Sanwo-Olu said his government had increased the employers’ contribution to employees’ Retirement Savings Account (RSA) from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent. This, he said, complemented employees’ contribution of 8 per cent, bringing it to a total of monthly contribution of 18 per cent.
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Mr Sanwo-Olu said his administration had also approved the monthly release of a pension bail-out fund to the tune of N1.083 billion.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) chairman in Lagos, Agnes Sessi, said despite the ravaging pandemic, the contribution of workers to the development of the State could not be undermined.
She prayed for all emergency and health workers on the frontline, stressing that the ravaging virus had affected many workers in all spheres.
She praised the governor for the increment of hazards allowance from N5,000 to N25,000 for health workers, saying the gesture would truly serve as motivation for the frontline workers.
Her Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Gbenga Ekundayo, hailed the governor for upward review of salaries and allowances for workers.
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