Workers Day Address By Kwara Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed
Today, we join the rest of the world to celebrate the dignity of labor and to express our appreciation for the value of productive work, which is essential for the rapid progress of any society. I am therefore, pleased to be here on this occasion where workers demonstrate their common interests and international solidarity.
I celebrate with workers in Kwara State and all over the country as we mark the Worker’s Day under the banners of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Let me start by commending the labor unions for consistently defending and advancing the political, economic, and social rights of Nigerian workers. Your efforts towards promoting the interests of the Nigerian workers have not gone unnoticed. I commend you for the maturity, sacrifice and patience in the face of the difficulties in the global economic which have affected the welfare of workers across the country
Today, the challenges that face labor groups in Nigeria are no different from those encountered by their counterparts in other parts of the World. Every worker wants better working hours, better welfare and better pay. Yet the capacity of employers to meet these demands is often limited and frequently non-existent.
I, therefore salute workers in the State for having kept faith with our Government despite the downturn of the economy.
It will please you to know that government is concerned about the salary delays being experienced by certain categories of workers in the state and is working to ensure this becomes a thing of the past in the shortest possible time.
This aspiration is based on reduced cost of governance and the state’s renewed revenue generation mechanism. The Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) has been empowered to shore up our internally generated revenue, which will ensure the State Government meets up with its statutory commitments, and also guarantee infrastructural development.
I also thank workers and pensioners in the State for participating in the ongoing verification exercise. The exercise is to give the government an accurate number of workers and pensioners in its payroll, and to also block leakages.
At the end of the exercise, the projected savings will go towards regular payment of salaries and funding for development projects.
Furthermore, data retrieved from the exercise will be used for planning purposes which will facilitate growth and development in the state.
As I recall workers made several requests to the state government during last year’s celebrations. While some of these requests have been addressed, I assure that others will be addressed at the appropriate time.
I want to use this opportunity to thank the leadership of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), and The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) for imbibing the spirit of amicable settlement and peaceful resolutions wherever there were disagreements.
I must at this point commend the Federal Government for approving the suspension of the monthly deduction at source for states who received bailout funds from the federal government.
This this will ease the financial challenges facing many of these States as we seek alternate measures to improve our economy.
Currently, the NLC and TUC are calling for increased minimum wage. While I concede the legitimacy of this request, it is imperative to situate the proposed review within the context of the economic challenges confronting all tiers of government in Nigeria.
As it is, most states can hardly pay salaries based on the current minimum wage not to talk of the increasing it. In view of this, I call on the Federal Government, and labor to support the domestication of the minimum wage law so that states can pay based on their capacities.
On this note, I once again congratulate you on today’s event and I wish you all happy Workers’ Day.
Thank you and God Bless.