By Funmi Komolafe
â€œIt is exactly a thousand days this morning that I took the oath of office before God and Lagosians to use all my best endeavours to deliver a bright and rewarding future.
Although our work is not finished, I stand here very proudly today to assert that the results of our collective efforts have become visible for all to see.
As I have said in the past, it is no longer important whether people believe what we say. What is important is that they cannot disbelieve what we do. The evidence of the unmistakable transformation that is taking place here is there for all to seeâ€.
With theseÂ Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State beganÂ his address at the commemoration of his 1000 days in office with the theme tagged â€œRepositioning the Public Service for effective service delivery towards a model mega city stateâ€ held last Monday at the Blue Roof of the Lagos Television (LTV) Ground, Alausa, Ikeja.
The high point of the event wasÂ governor Fasholaâ€™s announcement of anÂ approval of 15% basic salary as Furniture Allowance to Public Servants in Lagos State and also the review of allowances to Judicial Service workers.
The announcement was followed with a loud ovation from the crowd .
GovernorÂ Fashola had also approved the payment of 27. 5 percent increase for teachers in the state public service. The increment took effect from January 2010. The wasÂ incrementÂ announcedÂ Â Â in a circularÂ signed by Head of Service, Alhaji Yakub Balogun.
According toÂ Balogun, the payment of the allowance to teachers is to encourageÂ them attain optimal performance in the discharge of their duties..
The non teaching staff will also benefit as they are to receive 7.5 percentÂ of their basic salary as theirÂ hazard and journal allowances.
As part of the on going upgrading in the system, salaries of teachers are now being paid promptly and simultaneously with those of other public servants in the state, as they have been integrated into the oracle payroll system.
The state government on February 26th, 2009Â released the sum of N5 billion for the payment of the pension arrears of teaching and non teaching primary school and local government retirees, a feat unprecedented in the history of the state.
This, no doubt has further boosted the morale of teachers .Â As a result teachers are now less worried aboutÂ what the future holds for them.
Fashola, also revealed that in the last 1,000 days, policemen, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officers, teachers, healthcare workers and many of the civil servants have been rewarded for bravery, gallantry, sterling services and so much more.
He said within his limited resources, unlimited demands and the increasing cost of running the machinery of government, his administration tried to respond to the demands. Among the demands met are: allocation of vehicles to octors and other health care workers, and for school principals to ease transportation problems and elevate their status, a new mortgage plan being worked out, while liquidating arrears of pensions and gratuity in Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), the Local Government and other parastatals in which the exercises will continue until government totally completesÂ the processes.
â€œWe have kept our promises to review allowances for teachers, judicial workers, approved the payment of hazard allowance to non-teaching staff in the state public schools, approved the payment of clinical allowance and increased journal allowance for health workers in the Stateâ€
The governor who said that the processes for implementation are underway added that the state workforce has grown from 100,737Â in May 2007, to 114,516 as at December 31, 2009.
â€œWe have just approved the employment of 3,636 teachers and 1,555, Non-Teaching staff, the promotion of 13,528 teachers 1,375 Non-Teachers to new grades with increased salaries and today our wage bill has grown from N2,461,000,000.00 as at May 2007 to N3,221,000,000.00 as at January 31, 2010.â€.
Apart from this, GovernorÂ Fashola revealed that hisÂ government has embarked on a reform programme through a Committee of the Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries, called the ways and means committee, whose mandate is to review processes, to highlight things that government can do better and those that it should change or discard.
He explained that the objective is simply, to make life better for the people as well as reduce the time it takes to get things done and to bring about a greater efficiency in government.
Meanwhile, the allowance which is 15 percent of basic salary across board will be paid with the monthly salary for a period of five years with effect from January, 2010.
Most of the state civil servants who reacted to the increment received it without any excitement saying the increment is retrogressive as it only favours the high income earners.
According to a middle aged worker who preferred anonymity; â€œIt is rubbish, the increment has no positive impact on us,Â Â I am very sure those who hailed the governor at the 1,000 days celebration were rented crowd because we, the low income earners have nothing to jubilate about.
â€œ,For instanceÂ a worker in Lagos State civil service who is earning as low as N7,500,Â 15 percent of that is N1,125 for furniture allowance, of what economic benefit is that to him or her. The increment according to information is also being taxed, that is there is going to be tax deduction. This is all aÂ ruse. They described the largesse has given out with one hand and receiving same with the left hand.
However, another civil servant said,Â â€œthe 15 percent increase inÂ furniture allowanceÂ is an answered prayer and it shows the big heart of the governor for his teeming workers.Â Â Donâ€™t forget, he has promised to review it regularly. Itâ€™s a welcome development to us, we wish him more welfare package delivery.â€