By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and members of the State Executive Council Monday went through a free HIV/AIDS test to determine their status.
This came even as Governor Fashola cautioned the agitation for increment on the minimum wage for public servants, saying wage increment will not increase the quality of life in the country.
The test which held at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja was responded to by members of the State Executive Council as well as civil servants who turned out in their large numbers at the various centres.
However, few of the members of the State Executive Council, failed to undergo the test on personal grounds.
Fashola who led his aides in the exercise, appealed to resident to take advantage of the free HIV test being offered at the various state hospitals to know their status and said knowing oneâ€™s status did not amount to death sentence since government had put in place measures to provide free treatment for those who tested positive.
Motives of the exercise
Head of Lagos State Aids Control Project, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, told newsmen that the motive of the exercise was to enable the Executive Council members know their status, and also convince residents on the need to come out and make use of the opportunity.
He said it would also serve as a good opportunity for those at the corridor of power to show leadership by example, adding that members of the state House of Assembly have undergone the test.
On wage increment
On the wage increment, Fashola made the call while addressing the national committee on wage fixing in the public service led by Prof. Veremudia Diejomaoh during a courtesy visit.
Fashola said increasing the minimum wage did not amount to increase in the quality of life of an average Nigerian public servant.
His words: â€œWhy are we concerned about the increment in minimum wage? It is because we are concerned about the quality of life of our people. Is it the minimum wage that will solve the problem of Nigerians or finding a lasting solution to what is really making the quality of life difficult for the people?â€
He said previous commissions, like Udoji, did not help to solve the problem in the country, but added to the problem.
He said if the Federal Government was interested in increasing the wages, what would happen to state government and private organisations that could not afford to pay the increased minimum wages, adding that many will be forced to lay off their workers and the rate of unemployment will increase in the country.
The governor stated that it is not wise when the Federal Government keep to itself 52 percent of the national resources leaving the state with the remaining percent and sending a circular to them
to increase the wages of the public servant in their state with the little revenue they have.
Fashola added that some state and local government in the country have the capability to pay and also has the social fabric that keep the society together, but what about those states that cannot afford the increment in the minimum wage.
The governor however stated when the Federal Government should be interested more in building more rail that will make transportation cheaper instead of giving a set of people minimum wage that will further increase the disposable income of the workers.
Fashola stated that that the government can act more decisively by bringing down the cost of transportation, cost of housing, create a mortgage system using the pension scheme.
The stressed that one of the laws that should be amended by the National Assembly now is the one that inhibit the amount of money that should be invested in the construction of housing, if people can gain houses on mortgage bases it will reduce cost on rent and increase there disposable income, and they will be able to pay gradually for there own house