Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has identified his financial prudence as the reason for his administration’s smooth running despite the economic challenges.
He disclosed that he had on Friday set up a committee to oversee the negotiation and implementation of the new minimum wage, adding that civil servants and the government are going to be reasonable on the all-important matter.
While speaking at the Governor’s 200 days in office media chat on the State Owned media outfit, Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State, on Saturday, Makinde further hinted that he had taken a bold step of reducing the over 60 bank accounts being operated by the state to only one, to plug financial leakages and save more money.
Speaking on the various Christmas decorations which has lightened and beautified the major parts of the capital city, the Governor noted that all the decorations were done at no extra cost to the government but funded by people who brought “Christmas gifts” to the Governor.
Governor Makinde said, “We decided to prioritise the needs of the people. Oyo State had over 60 bank accounts, I asked the Accountant General to consolidate into one account.
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“The IGR has gone up a bit, because we have blocked the loopholes but we will do more.
“Oyo State government didn’t spend one kobo on the Christmas decorations done across the state. It was funded by the usual ‘Christmas gift’ to the governor.”
The governor, who said he decided to cut cost of governance in consideration of the economic reality, added that he drives his personal car and did not approve the purchase of new cars for officials of the state.
On the implementation of the new minimum wage, he said, “We have cut out a lot of wastage to enable us fund everything which we have been paying for. On minimum wage, we set up a committee that will engage with labour.
“If we adopt the minimum wage, we know how much we need to pay but do we have the means to do it and carry out all the developmental works in Oyo State? We promised good governance and we are surely working on delivering that to all residents.”
The governor lamented that not many of the 600 public health centres in the state performed optimally.
“Street trading will not be eradicated overnight. some of them are breadwinners, and that is their main source of income. I agree it’s very dangerous. Our position is, we can’t chase them off the street without an alternative,” he said.
He reiterated his administration’s resolve to boost education, agriculture, crime reduction, improved housing policy, as well as regular refuse disposal system.
The governor, who will clock 52 on December 25, said civil servant in the state would be paid their 13th month salaries on December 28.
Addressing a wide range of issues raised by the three-man panel of interviewers and residents of the states who made phone calls into the programme, said that though the government had been getting a good report about security in the state following the immense efforts of the administration in redesigning the security architecture; distribution of security vehicles and procurement of communication equipment, among other steps, it was not going to rest on its oars.
He commended the security agents saddled with the responsibility of policing the state and the people for their cooperation, noting that statistics have shown that the state has recorded the lowest crime rates in this Yuletide period.
He said: “On the minimum wage issue, yesterday (Friday), we set up the committee that will engage with the Nigeria Labour Congress. The truth is, if we don’t deceive ourselves, everyone will be reasonable. NLC too knows that we are open with the amount of money we are getting as federal allocation. That is why we are in harmony.
“I have told them that we are going to get the matter resolved and they keyed into that because of the sincerity of purpose and transparency, they have found in this government. In fact, we know the cost-implication of the new minimum wage and the formula the Federal Government brought out on it.
“If we adopt it without negotiating, we know the amount that will still be needed to meet up. And we also put it on the table to them to analyse if Oyo State really can meet up with the amount that will be needed aside undertaking some other development projects in the state.
“One thing I can promise the people is, this is a new government, a new dawn and there is a new thinking between government and all other stakeholders, because we are all pulling in one single direction, which is delivering good governance and development agenda.”
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