Dear Editor of Osun Defender, I want us to look at the issues very clearly. There are 20,000 mainstream civil servants in Osun. Osun has a population of about 3.9 million people. By the workers claims, the state gets 3.9 Billion naira every month as total revenue.
Salaries and wages alone take 1.8billion naira, we are not told what goes to pension and gratuities monthly, Overhead; that is the cost of running government etc. Government said outstanding as at June 2011 on gratuities alone was 2.4billion naira but 150million naira is allocated monthly to gratuities while 400million naira is the monthly allocation for pension.
When you add this up you have 2.35billion Naira going to 0.5556% of the population out of 3.5 Billion naira. This means 60.256% 0f the state resources going to less than 1% of the population!
It is simply inccredible! Let us imagine what is required to get portable water to the citizenry, roads, clean environment,health care infrastructure and drugs, education infrastructure and materials, agricultural supports for massive food production, industrialization, sports development, commerce promotion, urban renewal etc. We have not added the cost of the unique youth engagement programme of the state of Osun called OYES; which draws 200million naira monthly as allowances to the 20,000 volonteers who are used for public and social works and services.
Please do not forget the 18.3billion naira loan which Oyinlola took at the twilight of his tenure and for which 615 Million naira was monthly paid until March 2011 when Ogbeni refinanced it with the First Bank and crashed the cost of servicing to about 65million naira monthly. Government is not however saying it will limit permanently the benefit of workers to what it is offering. No, Government says let us have a salaries and wages commission composed of workers representatives, Government and professional consultants that will regularly review revenue and regulate wages without rancour.
Without prejudice, there should not be further acrimony in Osun. 1.2 billion naira already offered the workers is reasonable for the time being. This is 30.77% of the revenue to 0.5556% of the population. When you add pension and gratuities it becomes 44.87%. Subventions to tertiary institutions in the state are not included in this analysis so far. Remember that there are two Polytechnics, two Colleges of education, one College of health technology, one jointly owned University and one solely owned University.
All told we are looking at another monthly commitment of about 800million naira, as subventions. I honestly urge our labour leaders to rethink their hard line and call off the strike. The real truth is that the minimum wage act for all intent and purpose is for the vulnerable junior workers.
Ogbeni has shown considerable commitment to labour and his gesture must be appreciated please. He needs the support of all to raise the IGR of the state from the miserable 300million naira level to an appreciable level that will support the huge financial needs of Ipinle Omoluabi.
Labour activism is required to block all leakages in revenue mobilization. Productivity must improve for wages to meaningfully increase.
By Ifadiya Akinade