By Adekola Afolabi|
The Ondo State Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele, has assured that the state government would not take the last position in the payment of the N35,000 federal government approved wage award to public servants in the state.
Ogundele said very soon, the state would announce the agreed wage award for the state public servants.
The HoS gave the assurance on Tuesday while briefing newsmen as part of activities marking the 2023 Public Service Week. The theme of the 2023 Public Service Week is “Bureaucratic Impact on Investment Promotion in Ondo State”.
The annual event held at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka Akure, was well attended by Permanent Secretaries and other Accounting Officers in government MDAs.
At the event, the Head of Service disclosed that the state government has promoted 12, 372 workers during the 2023 promotion exercise, just as he further assured of government’s unwavering commitment to improved workers’ welfare in the state.
“On the issue of the N35,000 wage award, we have discussed with the labour and already we are working at the level of the Accountant General office, to look at what is going to be the cost implication. That we have already generated. What we are just trying to do now is to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and I can assure you that very soon the news will be passed across to the media.
“Like I always say, it is “we” agreeing on what is to be done and then Mr Governor will say go ahead. So, whatever we agree on with the labour we will let you know, but I can assure you that on the issue of wage award Ondo State will not carry last”, he said.
Ogundele revealed that the three-day program which began with Health Walk yesterday would be rounded off on Thursday with Public Service Lecture at Adegbemile Cultural Center, Akure.
The HoS will hold an interactive meeting with a cross section of the public servants starting with officers on Grade Level 12 and above and later with 10 and below, all at Adegbemile Cultural Center today.
He said the meeting would offer opportunities for officers and the rank and files to ask questions and make contributions on how to improve the State Bureaucracy.
“I intend to deploy the platform to further secure the buy-in of public servants on the need to improve on service delivery, beginning with a change of attitude and orientation. If we get our values and orientations right, the rest will fall in place and we will evolve the service of our dream, bringing back the golden era of distinguished professional service”, he said.
He used the occasion to applaud the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for living true to his various promises to the people of the state by securing the lives and property of the citizenry through Amotekun Corps, delivering massive infrastructural transformation in road expansion and rehabilitation across the nooks and crannies of the state, embarking on agricultural revolution and rural development, empowering the vulnerable people through the Ondo-Cares programmes, improving revenue generation, and making the issues of workers’ welfare priority.
He, therefore, called on the public servants in the state to continue to show understanding and demonstrate industry and dedication to the worker-friendly administration of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and eschew unprofessional practices and to give their best in their respective beats.
The number one civil servant also described government palliatives to workers in the state as more robust and better than giving them N10,000 as being done in some states, saying that the free shuttle buses the workers are enjoying now save each of them an average of N24, 000 per month.
Ogundele who said government is spending over N10 million on maintenance and fueling of the buses, adding that the state pensioners too are collecting N10,000 monthly as palliatives to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.
He said government has continued to pay salary of workers as at when due, noting that about N5bn is being spent as monthly wage bills, leaving little amount to take care of several other important needs of the state until now that things are beginning to improve.
The HoS, however, said government would this week announce massive recruitment of 1,000 health professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists among others, into the health sector to address issue of brain-drain in the system, even as he said work is ongoing to recruit more teachers into the secondary schools.
He added the government has also elongated the retirement age of teachers in the state from 60 to 65 years age to further retain experienced hands and curb problem of scarcity of teachers in public schools.
Earlier, the Chairman, 2023 Pubic Service Planning Committee and Permanent Secretary, Estab, Mrs Dare-Atunse Olufunke, said the annual event was to celebrate, recognize and appreciate the public servants for their immeasurable contributions to the public service and the development of the society.