The Newly inaugurated Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde has said the state does not have the financial capacity to pay the new national minimum wage for now, adding that he would engage in a sincere dialogue with the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state.
The governor made this known on Wednesday in his inaugural speech after taking his oath of office.
Makinde said he believed in the principle of true federalism, stressing that the Federal Government should have allowed each state to negotiate its minimum wage according to capacity.
“Recently the Federal Government announced a new salary scheme in which the lowest cadre of civil servants are expected to earn at least N30,000. I know how access to this type of money will improve the lives of many of the families that I have had direct contact with. However, with the way Oyo state account currently stands, I will be deceiving you if I said we are capable of taking up this burden right now.
I believe in true Federalism; I believe the states should decide the minimum wage of their workforce based on their individual realities. All states are not created equal, so it is against the principle of fairness to apply a blanket rule to govern them all. That being said, our plan is to make Oyo State the first state to pay above the new national minimum wage,” he said.
He added that his government will engage in a dialogue with the organised labour to come up with a decision that will be of the workers interest.
The Governor announced the abolition of the 3,000 education levy in all government schools which was imposed by the outgone administration of Abiola Ajimobi, noting that the fee was responsible for increase in the number of out-of-school children in the state.
Makinde also disclosed that he would be donating all his salaries as a governor to the State Pension Fund for the benefit of pensioners in the state, recalling that he made the promise to do so while soliciting votes.
The governor, however, noted that his administration will be taking some tough decisions in the aspect of revenue generation, urging the people of the state to persevere because of the benefits that lie ahead.
He disclosed that the overhead bridge at thestate secretariat, which was exclusively used by former Governor Ajimobi and his wife, has been renamed as “Freedom Bridge” and reopened for public use.
The Governor thanked the people of the state for their support, promising that he will be the Governor of the people.
Makinde, who defeated Adebayo Adelabu of the APC in the last election, was sworn-in as the 8th democratically elected Governor of the state at 12:26pm on Wednesday, at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium.
The oath of office was administered by Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Oladipo Abimbola.
The inauguration was witnessed by former governors of the state, leaders of the People’s Democratic Party in the South West geopolitical zone, party members, traditional rulers and residents of the state.