Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun said his administration has paid the sum of N8.4b out of the N14.4b owed the state workers from May 2019 to March 2022 from deductions and loans just as efforts are on to settle the outstanding balance of N6b.
The governor who disclosed this today at this year’s Workers Day celebration held at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, said the state government would look into the non payment of leave allowances spanning seven years as well as issues surrounding Contributing Pension Law.
“Sincerely, we acknowledge your perseverance on the three critical issues that we have had to grapple with. The first is the global deductions which are now 21 months arrears. From May 2019 to March 2022, total deductions and loans amounted to about N14.4b, out of which a total of N8.4b had been paid by our administration to date, including regular payment of check-off dues, loans and shillings deductions.
“I assure you all that in the coming months and as the economy improves, the payment of the outstanding balance of N6b will be accelerated, while efforts will be made to ensure regular monthly payment of deductions going forward. The second and third are leave allowances which were paid last in mid-2015 and the issue surrounding Contributory Pension Scheme Law, respectively. I can assure you that within the shortest possible time, all these issues will be resolved, with your cooperation and positive attitude they shall be history soon”, Abiodun noted.
He commended workers who are still in service for contributing to the success of the present administration and appreciated the efforts of those who had served the state meritoriously in that past, assuring that his administration had begun settling gratuity arrears with the release of N500m every quarter, adding that a total of N2.5bn had been released so far to pay the senior citizens.
He added that his administration in the last three years has improved the work environment in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, released and approved of promotion letters of years 2018, 2019 and 2020, provided housing scheme for the workers by constructing and allocating houses at Prince Court at Kemta Idi-Aba, Abeokuta and Kobape Estate, to them.
“Only two weeks ago, we reviewed upward by 100 percent, car and motorcycle refurbishing loans, appointment and posting of new Permanent Secretaries; Accountant-General, Solicitor-General, Principals-General and Tutor-General for seamless administration. In addition, we have procured official cars for all the Permanent Secretaries – those appointed by this administration and those appointed by the immediate past administration and are still in service”, he stated.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s Workers Day: “Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria”, the governor noted that the theme is apt and speaks to the state of affairs in the state.
He said the Ogun State workers have been non-partisan and professional in discharging their responsibilities as the public service is structured and guided by certain rules, regulations, circulars, extant laws, and above all, the Federal Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While calling on the public servants to understand that the political class is a stakeholder in the Nigerian Project and critical to Nation Building, Abiodun equally urged them to be mindful of the liberty and privilege of the democratic governance that the country now enjoys.
“We should be sensitive to the delicate nature of these times in our polity. On our part, we will continue to constructively engage our workers so that there can be mutual understanding between the two sides”, the governor submitted.
The State Chairman, Trade Union Congress, Akeem Lasisi, in his address, regretted that Nigerians are going through turbulent times as there are insecurity, economic instability and general poor welfare for the citizens, declaring that “Nigeria is currently bleeding”.
He decried the non-availability of power supply despite a huge amount spent on turn-around maintenance as well as the current strike by university teachers.
He opined that for country to get out of her present situation, government at various levels need to tackle insecurity, stop importation of goods that would be produced locally, while industriazation of the country should be pursued to generate opportunities for the people.
While thanking the government for its numerous gestures that had impacted positively on the workers, the TUC Chairman called on the state government to offset workers deductions and allowances, pledging that the state workers would reciprocate by putting in extra efforts in discharging their duties.
On his part, the state chairman of The Nigeria Labour Congress, Emmanuel Bankole, stressed the need for governments at all levels to always consider workers welfare as priority, noting that the present socio-economic predicament in the country is affecting the people negatively.