Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state has pledged to pay any amount that the tripartite negotiating committee on new national minimum wage arrives, saying the state and its government would be binding to pay whatever amount as the new minimum wage.
Governor Amosun, who spoke at the Treasury Board Meeting for 2019 Budget held in Abeokuta on Tuesday, also ordered immediate employment of 130 medical staff, namely, 30 doctors and 100 nurses in all the state-owned health facilities across the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas of the state within the next two weeks.
The governor said although the increase in workers’ wages and salaries as well as immediate employment of 130 medical staff members into the state civil service would increase the wage bill which the state is struggling to pay monthly, it is however imperative on government to provide needed succour for the working population.
“On the minimum wage, we will meet somewhere because I am not part of the team negotiating. What labour is saying is not salary adjustment, what they are saying is that there is no worker in Nigeria that must collect below N30,000, I don’t know what figure they are going to arrive at but whatever figure they arrive at, it would be binding on me and we have to pay.
“It is easy for me to come here and say take 400 doctors but when I am struggling to pay the N18,000, where would the money come from? Clearly, now, I have given instruction that we are not waiting for this budget, what we would do immediately is that I would give approval for immediate employment of 100 nurses and 30 doctors.
“In the budget now, we are going to make provision for at least 100 doctors and 300 nurses, but what this clearly means is that we are increasing our wage bill. It is easier for us to speak, but what 100 doctors and 300 nurses would add to the wage bill would be about N500 million.
“When you add this to the wage bill, we are struggling to pay, people would ask you questions and some people would say when you know you can’t pay us, why did you employ us, people should be kind and fair to us as well”, the governor said.
Earlier, Babatunde Ipaye, Commissioner for Health, had demanded inclusion of the employment of about 100 medical doctors into the 2019 budget proposal which will complement the existing 142 physicians in the service.
He explained that Abeokuta city currently has 22 medical doctors with 122 nurses attending to an average of 12,000 patients on monthly basis, while Ijebu-Ode has 17 medical doctors to attend to an average of 8,000 patients.
According to Ipaye, only seven medical doctors operate in each of Ota and Ilaro with an average of 2,500 patients, adding that no fewer than 40 to 50 doctors would be required to immediately address the shortfall.