The Lagos State Government on Friday paid special tribute to health workers for their unrelenting efforts in the cause of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the commendation at the State House, Marina, during the commemoration of the 2020 Workers’ Day.
Sanwo-Olu said in a statement that the 2020 Workers’ Day was dedicated to celebrating the true heroes of the season, who were the health workers on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19.
According to him, since the virus began to ravage the communities and disrupt lives, these heroes have not just been going to work daily, they have been going to war daily against the unseen enemy.
”To you our courageous doctors, nurses and paramedics, I render the heartfelt gratitude of the government and good people of Lagos State.
”To our security agencies who go out daily, defying the fear of the virus to keep our lives and property safe, this day belongs to you.
”Let me pay a special debt of gratitude to another special set of workers. Our street sweepers, medical waste handlers and our PSP operators.
”We will never forget your toil and the risk you are bearing during these very unusual times in our history,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that as part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the government approved 400 per cent increment in the Hazard Allowance of Health Officers for the month of April 2020.
He said that his administration had put in place additional health and life insurance for all frontline health workers, to ensure that they were adequately insured.
According to him, this gives them insurance protection on two levels.
”Similarly, to empower local entrepreneurs in the state, we commissioned local tailors and seamstresses for the mass production of two million locally made face masks from standard designs recommended to them.
”We have since begun distribution of the masks to identified segments of residents of the state as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” he said.
The governor said the commemoration of Workers’ Day should be a reminder to stakeholders that the concept of development must be far-reaching and inclusive for it to benefit society in general.
He described labour force as ”a critical stakeholder” in good governance and ”engine-room” of economic growth, adding that his administration would always seek harmonious relationship with the workers for the progress and prosperity of the state.
Sanwo-Olu said that his administration, since inception, had prioritised payment of new minimum wage to workers as a demonstration of commitment to improving their welfare.
He also said his administration had continued to assist families of workers who died in the line of duty, adding that the state had not relented, in spite COVID-19 pandemic, in paying 418 pensioners for their pension bond arrears.
The governor said that with effect from January 2020, government had increased the employers’ contribution to employees’ Retirement Savings Account (RSA) from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
He said that this increment complemented employees’ contribution of 8 per cent, bringing it to a total monthly contribution of 18 per cent.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration had also approved the monthly release of a pension bail-out fund to the tune of N1.083 billion.
He reiterated his commitment to workers’ welfare, as his government had expanded the opportunity of training and capacity building for the Lagos workforce.
The chairman, Lagos State chapter of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mrs Agnes Sessi, said in spite of the ravaging pandemic, the contribution of workers to the development of the state could not be undermined.
Sessi prayed for all emergency and health workers on the frontline, stressing that the ravaging virus had affected many workers in all spheres.
She thanked the governor for the increment of hazards allowance from N5,000 to N25,000 for health workers, as the gesture would truly serve as motivation for the frontline workers.
Her Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Gbenga Ekundayo, hailed the governor for upward review of salaries and allowances for workers.