By Julius Toba-Jegede
Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun has said that the welfare of civil servants in the state will remain the top priority of his administration.
The governor disclosed this in Abuja when he featured on NAN Forum, a special interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Oyetola, who noted that workers deserve their pay on regular basis, said this informed his decision to commence clearing the backlog of salaries and pension arrears his government inherited three years ago.
“I believe that workers deserve their pay. You don’t hire employees without paying them.
” I made it a priority of my administration to ensure that workers’ salaries are paid when due and in full.
‘’It is more of a priority and God has been so kind to us by enabling us to sustain that since 2018 till date.
“Mind you, not only salaries, we pay pensioners in full as well.
‘’I am committed to the welfare of my workers because they are the engine room of any government in terms of policy implementation.
“They must be seen to be happy, yes, we sustained the payment of full salary.
” We sustain the payment of full pension and we have actually implemented the new minimum wage.
” Out of many states in Nigeria, we are one of the few to have implemented the minimum wage.
“We have assured them that we will pay them the backlog of the half salary we met on ground. Don’t forget that my own half salary is there too because I was in government then.
” We will look into all these, with the kind of funds we have now, we do most of our projects with creativity.
‘’The fund is not there, but you can’t be lamenting as a chief executive and we just need to think out of the box. We have not forgotten that they are owed half of their salaries.
” We will pay them, but the fund situation now doesn’t give us the opportunity to do so.
‘’Obviously, I won’t leave the payment of regular salary to them and start to think of the outstanding, but I can assure you that I’m committed to paying soon,’’ he said.
He went further to explain that he was able to achieve the feat by prioritising the expenditure of the state in spite of many needs competing for attention.
“How we are able to achieve this is by first prioritising expenditure as a government. You have a lot of things competing for your attention; you now have to decide which of these expenditures will deserve your immediate attention.
“So, salary first before other things; like I said, it is all about setting your priority and our priority in Osun is to ensure prompt payment of salaries and pensions, then we can look at other things,’’ he said. (NAN)