Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, has charged workers in the state to justify their monthly pay henceforth.
Addressing a crowd of workers from various unions that make up the Nigeria Labour Congress or NLC and Trade Union Congress or TUC in the state, Soludo noted with dissatisfaction that the state government has been paying its workforce for jobs not done in the name of “Monday seat-at-home” imposed by the Indigenous People of Biafra of IPOB, a non-state actor.
“You have been doing 70-80% of the work and paid 110% in salaries from December last year. The sit at home has become a convenient excuse for indolence,” he said.
“Give value to the state, and the state will give value to you. We must get our offices once again fully open.”
The governor also lamented the difficulty in funding the state 2023 budget. He stressed the need for all categories of workers in the formal and non-formal sectors to work together to generate the revenue that will help to keep the state afloat.
“Our projection for the year is to generate N4 billion as IGR (internally generated revenue) monthly. But for the four months of the year, we have only generated a little over two billion naira. So we are in a deficit of almost 8 billion naira for the period,” he said.
“Same goes for the allocation from the federation account; we are not getting as much as we projected. You can see we all need to go to work to generate the revenue to attend to all you have demanded.”
Responding to the request from workers for the scrapping of the existing contributory pensions scheme, the governor said, “We have a pensions crisis in the state. We have hired consultants to look into that mess. If they made deductions, where are they? We must get to the root of all those issues.”
He promised to look into the request for prompt promotion of workers, while most other requests will be addressed when the state revenue improves.
The organized labour under the umbrella of the NLC had earlier articulated its requests from the administration through its chairman, Humphrey Nwafor.
The requests include full implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage, sustenance of payment of pensions and gratuities arrears, and recruitment into the local government system to cater for acute shortage following non-employment since 2004.
“Congress desires to bring to your kind attention that the new minimum wage of N30,000 and its consequential adjustment has not been fully implemented in the state. Therefore, Congress suggests and pleads that Mr Governor should look into the agreement of January 24, 2020, between the state government and organized labour over the full implementation of the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment and find a way to implement it. Workers’ pressure is becoming increasingly unbearable, and we may not continue to hold them,” they said.
“It is on record that since 2014 the contributory pension scheme started in the state, it seems that the scheme was designed not to succeed as monies deducted from workers’ salaries were not remitted regularly to the appropriate quarters. The non-adherence to the pension scheme laws has made the organized labour take a stand that the scheme be scrapped, and monies deducted from workers refunded back to them.”
This year’s Workers’ Day commemoration theme is “Workers’ Rights and Socio-Economic Justice.”