…says Ekiti has expended N30.6 billion on salaries and pensions in seven months
…lays foundation of Civil Service Senior Staff Club building
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, has urged labour unions to join his administration in its quest for higher and more equitable allocation to the state from the Federation Account to enhance the welfare of workers and the entire people of the state.
Speaking at this year’s May Day celebration held at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion in Ado Ekiti on Monday, which was the first he attended as Governor, Oyebanji assured that his administration would continue to make determined efforts to improve workers’ conditions of service within available resources.
He hailed the organized labour in the state under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and all their affiliate unions for their demonstrated maturity, courage, understanding and support to the government as a major stakeholder in the development of the state despite daunting challenges.
Oyebanji also commended the labour unions for the industrial peace and tranquility being enjoyed in the state which he attributed to their collaborative disposition and meaningful dialogue in resolving issues that border on the welfare of workers.
In line with the theme of this year’s celebration: ‘Workers’ Right and Socio-Economic Justice,’ the Governor urged labour unions to join his administration’s crusade in sensitizing the citizens and the Federal Government to ensure justice and fairness in the sharing of the allocations from the Federal Account, expressing dismay that Ekiti’s share is “extremely meagre” to meet the obligations it is saddled with.
He said: “Let me appeal to the organised labour to continue to sensitise the citizens and the Federal Government on the need to imbibe the spirit of fairness and equity in the distribution of national resources. The position of Ekiti State as it pertains to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations is worrisome.
“Our share is extremely meagre to meet the number of obligations we are saddled with. I believe the abundant resources of the country should be properly and equitably distributed to the federating units. Therefore, this administration will continue to strive for equity, fairness and inclusiveness. Please be our partner in this crusade for justice and fairness.”
Assuring workers of his commitment to their welfare in appreciation of their services as the engine room of bureaucracy, Oyebanji disclosed that the limited resources would not discourage him from meeting their yearnings as the policy thrust of his administration is to create wealth and a better living standard and improve human capital development.
He said: “As you are aware, arrears of salaries of Local Government Workers and their State Civil Service counterparts have been paid. Prompt and regular payment of salaries remains our priority. Payment of deduction arrears has been completed, while all the 2018 deduction arrears have also been paid.
“The implementation of 2019 promotion has equally been approved, coupled with hazard allowances and residency training allowance for Medical Doctors. All these clearly show that workers’ welfare remains a top priority for our administration and all other outstanding issues shall be addressed in due course.
“I wish to place on record that as an Administration, we have paid a total sum of N30, 606, 198, 988.31 as salaries to all categories of workers and pensioners since we assumed office. Similarly, a sum of N4, 180, 081, 726. 53 was used to defray 2018 outstanding salaries to both state and local government workers.
“In addition, the Government has approved the sums of N700, 000, 000: 00 for the payment of gratuities to the State retirees and another N235, 000, 000: 00 for the local government retirees. Similarly, the sum of N6, 214, 563, 734. 01 has been released so far, to our subvented higher institutions of learning, including payment of outstanding arrears.
“Not only that, we have also released the sum of N267, 070, 000:00 as Housing Loan to 1, 901 beneficiaries comprising both state and local government workers including teachers, while another sum of N228, 300,000:00 was disbursed as car loans to all categories of workers. You are undoubtedly aware that payments of deductions have contributed, in no small measure, to the disbursement of car and housing loans to workers. This has helped workers to continue to meet their personal obligation and improve the economy of the State in general.”
Governor Oyebanji used the opportunity of the Workers’ Day to reel out various welfare initiatives and policies implemented by his administration since assumption office in October last year. He stressed that further efforts have been made to ensure that priority is placed on workers’ welfare and efforts geared towards fulfilling obligations to them.
The Governor equally restated the commitment if his administration to the actualisation of a merit-based and service-driven public service and insistence on merit and capacity to deliver to achieve optimal performance and excellent service delivery.
Earlier, the NLC Chairman Comrade Olatunde Kolapo has hailed the Oyebanji administration for its support and understanding for workers welfare and demands. He however, urged the Governor to strife to do more for the workers, whom he said have also demonstrated sufficient level of cooperation and support for the government.
The Governor joined the labour union and other top government officials to lay the foundation for the senior civil servant Staff club, a few kilometres from the venue of the workers rally.