‘Why Oshiomhole raised health workers’ pay’



Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has approved a five per cent pay rise for health workers in the state, emphasizing that the wage increment is for all health workers including laboratory technicians, nurses and midwives.

The Government had earlier in the month also raised doctors’ pay by five per cent. This is coming even as many states in the country find it difficult to pay their wages with many owing salary arrears for up to five months.

Governor Oshiomhole announced the five per cent pay rise for the state health workers when he received members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) who paid him a courtesy visit in the Government House, Benin City.
He said, “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 per cent but for me, that was what we were willing to pay and were able to pay at that time. And I did say that when situation improves, we would look at it and make some further upward adjustment.

“At that time, our main source of revenue which is oil was at about 60 dollars, 70 dollars, 80 dollars and today, it is hovering around 30 dollars per barrel but certainly under 40 dollars and nobody knows what it is going to be. 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 saddled by massive looting and diversion from public treasury at the federation level. If you have been reading the news as I have done, both print and electronic, it is now established that NNPC did not remit as much as N3.2 trillion to the federation account under Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Minister of Finance and these bare the issues we have been talking about.”

He said, “Now, Edo State’s share of that money, if it had been remitted to the federation account, would have been more than N50 billion. So those numbers that they throw around in Abuja have direct implication on states and local governments. Imagine what we could have done if we have extra N50 billion today.

“I do appreciate the escalating cost of living even at a time of dwindling revenue accruing to the country. Therefore, just to be able to maintain my integrity and for you to trust my word, when I made those statements in good faith, I thought it would be better but certainly, things are not better and they are even worse for workers because everything is going up.

“So, in recognition of that, rather than as a reflection of ability to pay, but our commitment has not diminished; based on this and other considerations, we will up your pay by five per cent across all the health sector workers whether they are Lab technicians, nurses, midwives and what have you. I have asked the Accountant-General to have that reflected in your salary.”

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