…basic, junior secondary schools to open from Monday to Wednesday, increases learning hours
…to provide shuttle buses, others to cushion effect of subsidy removal
…Okungbowa assures new work policy won’t affect productivity, efficiency
In the wake of the rise in prices of goods and services and overall cost of living occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, the ingenuity and foresight of the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki with the introduction of the e-governance platform in 2021 shines through the hard times, as workers in the State are leveraging the platform to ensure productivity and optimal service delivery amid the three-day weekly work schedule for civil and public servants.
In a meeting with Permanent Secretaries as well as heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq., assured that the reduced office workdays will not affect the productivity and efficiency of the Service as the workers are able to work with their devices and the e-gov platform no matter their location.
The e-gov platform was introduced by the governor in 2021, in furtherance of the government’s effort to leverage technology to boost service delivery in the State, ensuring a switch over from analogue to e-governance.
According to the HOS, “This reduction of work days in Edo State will in no way affect our performance and productivity negatively. It appears that the Governor anticipated this situation when he introduced e- governance in 2021. The Edo State became effectively an e-governance State on November 1, 2021. Since then, government has invested so much in the project that all 72 MDAs have been on-boarded on the platform, thus making Edo Public Service about the most digitalized in Nigeria”
He continued: “According to the directive of the Governor, workers in Edo State will work three days a week, and offices will not be shut in the two days of the five working days as we would have officers on ground to continue government activities. People should continue to visit government offices as the offices are open for business.
“The template of COVID-19 will be reactivated as offices were not shut, as arrangements are in place for officers to come to work, ensuring government activities continue provided nobody is forced to work more than three days a week.”
Okungbowa further stated, “For people who want to work for more than three days in a week, they should be allowed to do so as the conducive environment, uninterrupted internet service attracts workers to continue to come to work, and such people will be commended.
“Head of agencies, MDAs, PSs of various ministries should develop the work templates and ensure that what they do works for them and ensure government services are not interrupted.”
On other steps by the government to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the people, the Head of Service said, “There will be shuttle buses running between Government House, State Secretariat, and JOOPSA to ease the hike in transportation fare caused by subsidy removal on petrol. The shuttle bus will leave every hour of the workday to help reduce the stress of workers in the State.
“The government has identified eight routes in the City and is putting mechanisms in place to get this working. Mr. Governor has promised to provide buses for all these routes but we will start with four. The buses will pick up workers from these routes to the Secretariat and to other places they work.
“The governor is very much interested in the welfare of Edo workers and the State is the first State to implement the 13th month salary and that will be paid to Edo workers by December. The government also increased the minimum wage in the state by 33.3 percent above what is payable by other State Governments and even the Federal Government.”
He added, “By the 26th of every month, salaries are paid and the government has been consistent with the payment, and also pensions are adequately paid to the retirees and also have begun to pay gratuity.”
The HOS said, “For those on essential duties like doctors, nurses, hospital workers; those in the environment in charge of cleaning as well as pressmen and journalists who will always be on their duty post, they will be considered as the issue will be discussed with the governor and reported back.”
On her part, the Edo SUBEB Chairman, Mrs. Ozavize Salami said the three-day work week will commence in the basic and junior secondary schools in Edo State on June 13, adding, “Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have been chosen to be the days for our children to go to school while the school will be closed for the other two days.
“Our plan for this period focuses on maximizing e-learning, ensuring the children cover the curriculum they ought to cover. They will stay for six weeks before vacation. For administrative reasons, we have chosen the first three days of the week as students will come to school for the first three days of the week.
She added, “We have increased the learning hours for basic school across the State by one hour and two hours for junior secondary schools to achieve the school curriculum and integrated the timetable for Thursdays and Fridays into Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.”