In an effort to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on the earnings of public servants, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has approved a reduction in workdays from five to three for the state’s workforce.
The governor conveyed this decision during a meeting with top labor leaders, assuring them that the subsidy removal was implemented in good faith to prevent further damage to the economy.
The reduction in workdays for civil servants is expected to be accompanied by additional guidelines from the civil service authorities, specifically addressing its implications for health workers and teachers.
According to an excerpt from the governor’s address to the labor leaders, he stated, “Removal of subsidy is definitely a painful decision that the government had to take in the larger interest of the country. It is the cheapest and most sustainable option available to curb criminal bleeding of the resources at the expense of the larger public.”
Governor AbdulRazaq emphasized that the subsidy regime had contributed to a deficit budget, hindering economic growth and exacerbating poverty. He highlighted the need to redirect the savings from subsidy removal towards maximizing public benefits, including potential salary increases, and expressed the government’s openness to viable suggestions from labor unions in this regard.
Acknowledging the short-term hardships associated with this development, the governor assured that both he and other governors were committed to safeguarding the interests of workers and the Nigerian people.
He urged the labor leaders to engage in dialogue rather than resorting to strike actions.
The meeting, attended by prominent figures such as the NLC Chairman, the State TUC Chairman, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Chairman of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners Association (NAGGMDP), the Vice Chairman of the National Union of Printing, Publishing, and Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW), as well as representatives from the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), was facilitated by the Head of Service, Mrs. Susan Modupe Oluwole.
Comrade Muritala Saheed Olayinka, the State NLC Chairman, commended the governor for convening the meeting, emphasizing the importance of dialogue over strike actions.
He called on Governor AbdulRazaq to employ his position as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to intervene in the national issue and seek amicable resolutions.
Similarly, Comrade Joseph Tunde Meshach, the State TUC Chairman, emphasized the significance of engagement and dialogue as the preferred methods for resolving the issues at hand.
He appealed to the government to approach discussions regarding a new minimum wage for workers and measures to assist the impoverished masses with sincerity and transparency.