Governor Obaseki increases minimum wage to N70,000

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has increased the minimum wage for workers in the state from N40,000 to N70,000.

Obaseki announced the inauguration of the newly built ultra-modern Labour House secretariat complex for labour unions in the state, along Temboga Road, Ikpoba-Hill, Benin City.

The building located at Temboga, Ikpoba Hill in Benin City is named after a former Governor of the State and former NLC President, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The governor said, “As a result of the cordial relationship between the Edo State Government and labour unions in the state, we have enjoyed peace and industrial harmony in Edo State. Despite our efforts to make life better for Edo State workers, there are forces beyond our control, as we don’t control the national economy and our workers are still languishing in pain and penury.

“I give you insurance, improved conditions of service, pay you and promote you on time but the truth is that because of the economic situation in Nigeria today, our workers continue to be challenged; by devaluation, high food prices and inflation have made nonsense of the N40, 000 we are paying you.

“As a government, we feel your pains and know your take-home pay can barely take you home. We will continue to try. I am one of those governors who believe that we can’t run away from the fact that we must adjust the minimum wage in Nigeria. It would have been nice for there to be a central cohesive and common approach. We would have expected that by now there should have been a direction as to what minimum wage will be for workers in Nigeria.”

He added, “We don’t know when that will happen. If it happens, fine and if not, as a State we would need to do what we need to do. For us in Edo State, we have decided to move the minimum wage from N40,000 to N70,000 effective from 1st of May 2024. I think like a capitalist and not a comrade. In my May Day speech, I will give more details on our new minimum wage. If the Federal Government imposes something higher, we would make the necessary adjustments.”

Commending the labour unions for their sustained partnership with the State Government leading to the industrial harmony enjoyed in the State, “You have joined us to pursue very deep institutional reforms in the State as our achievements have been made possible because of the cordial relationship we enjoy.

He added, “Labour-Government relationship should not be only at policy contestation level but should be an alignment towards a common goal for workers and that is what we have found in Edo. Government and labour have found a common ground to improve the lives of the workers in Edo State.

“This building was conceived by my predecessor in office and my contribution is to make it happen. We have continued to invest in our workers in Edo State and our achievement in Edo State is to contribute to the welfare and well-being of Edo State workers. We not only developed the work environment but emphasized building the capacity of Edo State workers. We continue to emphasize training and restraining as an integral part of our workforce as we believe that there is a connection between high performance and training.”

In his speech, the Edo State Head of Service, Dr Anthony Okungbowa, commended the governor’s commitment to the welfare of Edo workers, noting some of his achievements including fully digitalising the State civil service, prompt payment of salaries, the highest minimum wage in Nigeria, payment of 13th-month salary, life insurance for Edo workers, health insurance for workers, automatic employment for first-class citizens of Edo State, regular promotion for Edo workers, among others.

On his part, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Engr. Festus Osifo said the building is the best labour edifice, adding that “the achievements of the governor are not contestable.”

He added, “I thank you for digitizing the labour workforce in Edo State. I am impressed by your developmental achievements which have helped to reduce the plight of workers in Edo State.”

In his welcome address, the Chairman of NLC Edo State, Comrade Odion Olaye thanked the governor for his magnanimity, friendliness and concern towards Edo workers, adding, “I thank the governor for this edifice for the organised labour as workers in Edo State have long been waiting for a day like this as the house has been desired for over 25 years. This building is second to none in Nigeria.”

In 2023, the Obaseki administration reviewed the N40,000 minimum wage for the state workers to increase it, noting that the move was part of measures to cushion the impact of the petrol subsidy removal policy by the Federal Government.