The Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday explained the reason behind his decision to increase workers’ minimum wage in his state at a time about 27 state governments cannot pay salary.
He said as a former leader, he wanted to prove to his colleagues who were against the upward review of minimum wage that it could be done and salaries could be paid promptly.
The governor spoke with State House correspondents shortly after meeting the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Oshiomhole had on May 1 at the grand finale of activities to mark the 2016 Workers Day announced the immediate increment of minimum wage from N18,000 to N25, 000 for employees in the state public service.
He also promised prompt payment of outstanding arrears of salary to the staff of Local Government Councils in the state.
The governor said he was not on the same page with his colleagues who are holding the view that salaries should be reduced.
He said, “I have increased the minimum wage when my colleagues are debating that it is too high and I insisted that it is too small.
“I decided to increase it to show that not only that it is too small but it is possible to increase it and pay it.
“We are not in arrears of one month salary in Edo State, we are up to date. For all those who are in direct employment of the state government, including teachers at all levels.”
Oshiomhole also said his administration has decided to be treating teachers as the most important workers in Nigeria because of their roles in nation building.
He said his position was that if the state could not deliver on public health or infrastructure, it should not fail to deliver on education because the world is knowledge-driven and is increasingly digitalised.