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STRIKE: WE'VE FULFILLED OUR PLEDGE TO DOCTORS - FASHOLA

By NBF News
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Fashola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) at the weekend said the state government has fulfilled its part of the agreement to pay the new negotiated wage to the medical doctors before they went on another strike and renewed his appeal to them to have a rethink.

Governor Fashola, who spoke at the 2011 Annual Interdenominational Divine Service, organized by the Lagos State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) held at the Apostolic Church International Convention Grounds, Ketu explained that the state had fulfilled its part of the bargain and said immediately the budget was signed, the payment would commence.

He noted that this was done by convening an extra-ordinary executive council meeting on February 3 following the signing of the budget on January 31 to approve the memo for the new wages and allowances,  but surprisingly the next day a strike was started.

The governor reminded the doctors that unlike the Federal Government which they wanted the state to replicate its salary figures, the state government also provides cars, houses and free healthcare to its doctors which was not done at the federal level. He underscored the need for the doctors to show restraint, tolerance and forbearance.

'The reality of the new wage we are offering is that the most junior doctor moves from N110,000 per month to N170,000 while the senior doctors moved from about 360,000 to over 700,000 per month,' he added.

Governor Fashola explained that it would not be possible for government to spend all that it earns on payment of salaries because there were roads to be built, drainages to be cleared and security to be maintained.

He reiterated that every patrol vehicle deployed in the quest to maintain security consumes fuel and diesel which must be funded and that it was also the preoccupation of the government to clear refuse and provide water. The Lagos State helmsman said with the new salary package for all categories of public servants, the state wage bill had moved from about N52 billion annually to over N72 billion, stressing that if the economy improves the present government had shown that it could indeed respond to such.

The governor affirmed that the present administration in the state had made the state safer than it met it as it has improved its public transportation as well as its security. 'We are also improving its economy as more people have got jobs through repairs, development, renovations and constructions going on at various sites across the state.'

'More jobs are also being created through improved security which is giving renewed confidence to investors. Between 2007 and today, more investors have come into Lagos. Two new telecommunication outfits, Etisalat and Airtel with Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mastercard and TNC have come and they are giving job opportunities to your children. The economy is heading in the right direction,' Fashola said

He said in the transportation sector, several thousands of taxis had been added to the fleet on the roads which was an indication of a growing economy.

'In the field of agriculture, 100 out of 1000 graduate farmers have been graduated. We also have 100 hectares of land provided to them and another N540 million for takeoff capitals as young farmers. The same will be provided after another six months when another set of 100 graduate farmers complete their training.'

Fashola said the present administration had also raised the capacity to respond to emergencies by equipping the State Fire and Safety Services and providing ambulances and the emergency toll free numbers of 767 and 112 for use in times of emergencies.

He said whereas floods hadkilled over 1000 in Australia and another 500 in Brazil through global warming, Lagos also experienced  serious flooding in Ajegunle, Ikorodu, but no life was lost with people being successfully evacuated to a rehabilitation camp built over two years ago in readiness for any d

The governor said in the education sector, the result was getting better with the state turning out improved results in the public examinations which students in the state are sitting for and added that so far the state had constructed about 5000 new classrooms.

Governor Fashola said in another bold move to improve the performance of students in public schools, the state government had just recruited 1000 graduates who would be trained as teachers and deployed to organize remedial classes for students in final year in public schools from next Saturday.