The Osun State government had declared as faulty and lies, the claim by the labour leaders in the state that the regular income of the state stands at N3.9 billion monthly.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere and his Special Duties Counterpart, Barrister Ajibola Bashiru made the declaration in Osogbo, the state capital last Thursday, at a press parley, called at the instance of the Commissioner for Environment, Professor (Mrs.) MonisolaOyawoye, saying that the labour leaders were only misinforming their members and the public.
Akere said that the labour knew that the position of the government on its financial capacity was the truth, noting that, what the labour leaders were quoting was the combination of the statutory allocation, the Value Added Tax (VAT), the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and the Excess Crude Oil (ECO) Funds being saved by the government for the development of the state.
He stated that at every meeting they held with the labour leaders, traditional rulers and religious leaders, the government had made the documents concerning the statement of finances of the state accessible to workers, without any of the labour leaders presenting contradictory facts, adding that “the workers know that this is the first time labour will be negotiating with the government and they have access to all government’s income.
“By the demand of the labour leaders, which they say is N1.8m, they never mention the other commitment of the state government like pension, gratuity, debt servicing, OYES stipends and running cost among others. If we add all these expenses together with their demands, it will give N3,173,000,000 and this is far more than what comes to the coffers of the state government.
“They have forgotten that as a government, we are not responsible to workers alone, we must also be responsible for the development of millions of Osun people. Osun government is not fighting the workers and we had made it clear severally, but we would never deny the public what is supposed to be given to them because we want to satisfy the workers.
“This government had been protecting the interest of workers and nobody asked Governor Rauf Aregbesola when he paid the 13th month salaries for workers last year. The car loan per beneficiary before we came on board was N250,000, but it had been increased to N750,000; the housing loan, which used to be N300,000, had been increased to N800,000 and these are things we had been doing without anybody prompting the state government.
“We don’t want to believe that there are some people that are using the workers and that is why we had been appealing to them to come back to work, because, even the Federal Government that initiated the N18,000 minimum wage, only paid levels 1 to 6, while level 7 to 17 benefitted only N900 increment. The workers know this and they have the table”, Akere stated.
Bashiru, also stated that the argument of workers that the income of the state monthly was N3.8 billion was new and faulty, noting that “we had met with the labour leaders on several occasions and none of them had challenged the figures presented by the government. So that figure of N3.8 billion by the state labour leaders is faulty.
“Aside that, in this year’s budget, we had budgeted for more than N80billion and let us now assume that the figure of N3.8billion by the workers is correct, and they are asking for N3.173billion, including gratuity and pensions, it means that, after paying the workers, we will have about N600 million left every month for the state to deliver. If you multiply this amount by 12, it means that the state,which the workers are supposed to be servicing, is now suffering”, he noted.
He attributed the basis for the demand of workers to their discovery that the present administration had been able to make sacrifice and saved some money, which is now in excess of N8 billion since it came on board, insisting that since the money is not regular, “we will not as a serious government say that we will use that money to pay for the unusual demands of the workers”.
The commissioner then appealed to workers to consider the interest of the state and return to work, with a view to be partners in the new deal by Aregbesola to take Osun to its vantage position in the comity of nations.