IN THE NEWS: GOV EMMANUEL ASSURES ON NEW MINIMUM WAGE, CARPETS NBS’ UNEMPLOYMENT RANKING
By: Ndifreke P. Akpan (Govt House)
……The Akwa Ibom State Government has concluded plans towards implementation of the National Minimum Wage of Thirty Thousand Naira to its workers.
Governor Udom Emmanuel who announced this during the May 2019 Workers Day celebration held at the Uyo Township Stadium also faulted a recent statistics that ranked Akwa Ibom one of the highest in unemployment in the country.
Governor Emmanuel who carpeted the report wondered how a state with the highest Foreign Direct Investment outside Lagos could be so rated and attributed the report to fifth columnist who want to sow seeds of discord.
Mr Emmanuel urged the workers not to be distracted by such mischievous publications and assured of his workers friendly disposition.
The Governor assured the workers that the state government will implement the new minimum wage signed by the Federal Government, “after necessary documentations have been effected.”
He charged members of the committee set up for the implementation of the new minimum wage to expedite action on its computation and documentation to avoid any form of delay.
The State Chief Executive while congratulating the workers on the celebration, thanked them for the Industrial harmony enjoyed in the state and their endorsement which enhanced his reelection.
He reiterated his commitment to the welfare of Akwa Ibom workers through the provision of necessary social services, prompt payment of salaries and pensions to the retirees.
“I stand here to tell the Union leaders who asked me to make pronouncements (during their speeches), that in the areas of Workers’ Welfare, I concur!
“You may recall that one of the first things I did shortly after I resumed office was to extend our intervention especially to those that gratuities were owed since 2002, I will be paying. Each month, I will allocate something for gratuity.”
“About Four years ago when I assumed office as the Governor of the State, the economic frontiers were hazy and marred with uncertainties, the nation was going through severe economic challenges and abilities of the newly sworn in Governors to fulfill primary obligations such as payment of salaries became a huge nightmare, but to the Glory of the Only God we serve and Worship, and through prudent management of the lean resources available to us, we were able to not only pay salaries but we went ahead to pay pension.”
Earlier in her address, the Head of the State Civil Service, Mrs Ekereobong Akpan, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Comfort Archibong, congratulated the labour friendly Governor and other members of his team on the Electoral Victory and thanked the workers for their solidarity and support.
She extended the gratitude of workers to the Governor for his prompt and timely payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions and also for the ongoing effort to clear the backlog of gratuities and pension arreas and annual increment of all workers salaries.
She applauded the Labour Unions for sustaining a harmonious relationship between the State Government and the Workers, further urged them to continue to offer their selfless services to the development of the State and Nation in general.
Earlier, the new Chairman of N.L.C, Comrade Sunny James described this year’s workers celebration as symbolic being the last May Day in the Governor’s first tenure and the first since his reelection which also coincides with the new NLC leadership in the state.
He said that the theme: “Another 100 years of struggle for Jobs, Dignity and Social Justice” was very apt and saddening in this 21st century.
He expressed confidence that the labour movement in Akwa Ibom State is spared the agony experienced in other states of the federation where workers are owed several months of salaries.
Comrade James applauded Governor Emmanuel for his readiness to pay the National Minimum Wage and the prompt payment of salaries to all categories of workers and urged other employers of the workforce to follow suit.
The Labour leader also expressed gratitude to the Governor for his continued intervention in various industrial issues within the state among which are the former Metro Hotels Staff, and that of the College of Education, through payments of their outstanding entitlements.
Comrade Sunny James thanked the Governor for the rapid industrial transformation of the state, sign posted by the various industries such as the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Factory, the Metering Solutions Company, Coconut Refinery and the resuscitation of Peacock Paint among others.
On his part, Chairman of the Trade Union Congress in the State, Comrade Akamba Awah, said the friendly disposition of the Governor towards labour issues informed their adoption and endorsement of his candidature during the 2019 Governorship Elections.
He called on leaders in the state to adopt policies that will promote the emergence of a just and egalitarian society in pursuance of the common good.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr. Onofiok Luke, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt a bipartisan approach in tackling the lingering insecurity problems in the country, adding that party lines must be secondary in fighting the deteriorating security situation.
Similarly, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Godwin Abraham, represented by Justice Ekerette Ebenye, Congratulated the entire Workers of the State on the occasion of the May Day Celebration, and pledged that the judiciary arm of government, is in solidarity with the workers.
He applauded the Governor’s show of love to the workers and urged the workers to reciprocate by putting their best to the service of the state and the nation at large.
In his remark, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekwuwem, while noting that the Governor given the Dakkada philosophy and his industrialization policies, has totally transformed the state into an industrial hub, charged the workers to take due advantage of the many opportunities and projects that has been provided by the state government.
The Commissioner for Economic Development, Labour and Manpower Planning, Barrister Ekong Sampson said there was need for the development of some kind of social dialogue at all levels to promote implementation of Government policies and programmes and also enhance a seamless partnership that will enhance effective service delivery and good governance.
While appreciating Governor Udom Emmanuel for his support to the labour unions, the commissioner assured that the state government will continue to foster an atmosphere of peace and industrial harmony for increased productivity, wealth creation and the economic development of Akwa Ibom state.
The event also featured March Past by different Unions and Goodwill messages from other government functionaries and labour leaders.