By Omisore Babatunde Jedidiah
It is no longer news that Public Servants in Lagos State have started receiving the new minimum wage. With this development, Lagos has scored yet another first as the first state to pay the new wage in the country.
Lagos might be the economic nerve centre of the country, and also one of the biggest economies in Africa, but like a man with a big head and also a bigger headache, the state has huge financial commitments. For instance, the number of teachers in the Lagos State payroll alone is the equivalent of all the Civil Servants in some states in the country!
It is important to stress that apart from being the first state to pay the minimum wage, the Lagos State government has equally raised the bar by paying more than the N30, 000 agreement which organized labour reached with the Federal Government.
I have learnt not to judge people by what they say but by what they do. With this singular action, Gov Sanwo-Olu has painted his self portrait as a Welfarist leader. He has proved that it is possible to be in power and still remembers the downtrodden. He has, no doubt, written his name in gold as a foremost Civil Servant-friendly governor.
Right now, pensioners are also getting a review on their earnings, just as the state continues to pay them as at when due. The state is generally applauded as one of the few states that do not make pensioners groan, grumble or cry before they collect their pension.
Perhaps, the most intriguing part of the whole minimum wage issue is that governor Sanwo-Olu is not using it as a ‘propaganda tool or PR stunt’ to receive unnecessary media hype. Now, that is what I call a leader with a good heart.
Now that the governor has done his part, it has become essential for the Public Servants to reciprocate with more hardwork, dedication and selfless service. As they say, unto whom much is given, much will is required. Thus, this is the time for Public Servants in the state to roll up their sleeves, with their hand to the till, their back to the wall and nose to the grindstone and work smarter and harder than before.
This is the time to prove that we deserve more than the new minimum wage. Let there be an increase in productivity. Let there be a surge in qualitative service delivery. Let critical thinking shoot up in our workspaces. Let’s make the state government proud.
Now to the crux of the matter; it is a good thing that workers salaries have been increased, but increase in salary does not automatically translate into increased prosperity. There is a law called Parkinson Law. It states that the higher your income, the higher your expenditure will be. In other words, if your income is N1 million per month, your expenditure may be N1.2 million or more. The implication is that extra income, if not well managed, will lead to extra expenditure.
Those who have been in the Service for a decade or more would readily attest to the fact that this is not really the first time that wages will be increased. But there is hardly any radical improvement in the living condition of most Civil Servants. In fact, as someone said, increase in salary is always felt in the first two or three months. After then, everything just goes back to normal.
It is fundamental to establish this foundation by saying that it is not about how much you make but what you can keep from what you make. As Thomas Stanley said in his book, The Millionaire Next Door, “if you make so much money and spend it all, you are not getting wealthy. You are only living high”. Therefore, it is wisdom not to spend all that we earn whether it is little or much.
The number one advice here is this: Plan your expenditure on your former income. Live your life as if there is no increase in your income. Do not suddenly change your lifestyle to accommodate the increase. For instance, if you use to go to the club once a week, do not change it to five times. If your phone is not spoilt, do not go buying a more expensive one. You can buy a nice cover for it and frame and it will just be as good as a new one. Do not change the school of your children, except your old salary can take care of it.
Never confuse what you need with what you want. Your needs are the basic things you need for survival, while your wants are insatiable. No man can meet all his needs and still be rich at the same time. You cannot have things and have money.
Do not forget, there are people who are not earning up to what you are earning and are living happily as they make tangible financial progress. That is what is called ‘Financial Intelligence’. Please, be wise!
On a final note, by going ahead to implement the new minimum wage against all odds, Governor Sanwo-Olu has shown himself as a leader with a good heart. He, therefore, deserves the support of all Public Servants in the state. Let us join hands with him and his team to achieve a ‘Greater Lagos’.
Omisore Babatunde Jedidiah, a Public Affairs Officer from the Ministry of Information and Strategy writes in from Ikeja.