The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in Edo state led by Governor Godwin Obaseki has expressed sympathy towards its citizens regarding the removal of fuel subsidy, resulting in a rise in the cost of goods and services.
The governor in a statement on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, announced that civil and public servants would now operate on a three-day workweek instead of five days, in response to the increased transportation expenses.
He also announced that his government has taken steps to increase civil servants’ minimum wage in the state from N30,000 to N40,000.
The statement reads; “In the wake of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, fuel prices have increased astronomically leading to a rise in prices of goods and services and overall cost of living.
“The Edo State Government shares the pains of our people and wants to assure everyone that we are standing with them in these very challenging times.
“We want to reassure our people that we will do all within our powers as a sub-national government to reduce the pains and ameliorate the sufferings our people are currently facing in the wake of the current realities.
“As a proactive government, we have since taken the step to increase the minimum wage paid to workers in Edo State from the approved N30,000 to N40,000, the highest in the country today.
“We want to assure you that we will continue to pay this amount, while we hope to increase it even further if more allocation accrues to our State from the Federal Government in view of the expected savings occasioned by the removal of the fuel subsidy.
“We know the hardship that has been caused by this policy which has radically increased the cost of transportation, eating deep into the wages of workers in the State. Therefore, the Edo State Government is hereby reducing the number of work days that civil and public servants will have to commute to their workplaces from five days a week to three days a week.
“Similarly, for teachers and parents, their commuting to school will be reduced as the government is working on deepening the EdoBEST@Home initiative to create more virtual classes, thereby reducing the cost of commuting on parents, teachers and pupils. The Edo SUBEB will provide details on this initiative in the coming days.
“To lower the rising cost of energy on our people, we will continue to work with the electricity companies in the State to improve power supply to homes and businesses.
“Similarly, fibre optic connections are being made available to help our people work remotely, thereby reducing their cost of transportation. “While government intensifies these efforts to alleviate the burden of the fuel price increase on the people during this very challenging period, we want to call on everyone to remain calm and go about their daily businesses lawfully,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has explained that it suspended its nationwide strike planned for Tuesday to protest fuel subsidy removal, because the government demonstrated willingness to hold dialogue and provide “reasonable palliatives to cushion the effect of its policies.”
The NLC gave the explanation in a communique issued at the end of its emergency National Executive Council on Tuesday evening, June 6, 2023.
“Considering the mood of the socio-polity, last elections and the need to pursue national stability and consequently, the NEC-in-session resolved as follows:
“To commend and applaud the diligence of the congress’ leadership in carrying out the assignment given to it by NEC; to demonstrate to the Federal Government the need to comply with the laws of the land, especially as it concerns obedience to the rulings of the courts and their brazen disregard for the 2023 Appropriation Act.”