Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has restated his administration’s commitment to addressing workers' welfare, in particular by looking into the issue of deductions and promotion arrears in the state public service before the end of his tenure in office.
The Governor who stated this in Ado- Ekiti on Friday during a courtesy visit by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ekiti State Chapter, led by it’s chairman, Mr Kolapo Olatunde, said government would also look into minimum wage adjustment for workers on grade level 14 and above, as well as payment of promotion arrears for 2019 and 2020.
Dr Fayemi however revealed that current cash crunch being experienced by many state governments, including Ekiti, is as a result of the global down turn of the economy which has resulted in zero- remittance by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account in the last six months. Despite this difficult economic situation, he said his government had kept its promise not to owe workers’ salaries, hence the regular salary payment to workers in Ekiti.
He said that government would continue to do everything possible within available resources to address issues concerning the welfare and wellbeing of the workers, urging them to show understanding with government. He also urged labour leaders to sustain the ongoing industrial harmony between the state government and workers and as well extend such gesture to the in-coming administration.
The Governor commended the leadership of labour for their solidarity, support and commitment to workers’ welfare, adding that even though there are times both labour and government disagree on some issues which is inevitable, but commended the labour leadership for not being disagreeable at any time.
“So your point about deductions and promotion arrears is well taken and I believe we would do something before this administration completes its tenure in office.
On gratuity, the Governor expressed displeasure that this is one issue he is most unhappy about. "Unfortunately, our pensioners allowed themselves to be deceived when opposition elements distorted the objectives behind our promissory note and bonds scheme which would have enabled us clear a good number of pensioners' gratuities by now."
“So, we have had to continue with our N100 million monthly commitment for payment for gratuities to pensioners. Even that has now become difficult for us in our current economic circumstances.
“On promotion arrears, we’ve cleared 2017/2018, we have 2019/2020 that we have to come to terms with. Equally, I know minimum wage adjustment for level 14 and above is one of the issues on your table. We would keep trying to make sure that we make our workers happy and put the leadership of the workforce in a place where they can also hold their own heads high.
Earlier in his remarks, the NLC Chairman, Comrade Olatunde commended Governor Fayemi for prioritising workers’ welfare through prompt payment of their salaries and other emoluments in spite of the meagre resources in the state.
While commending the Governor for the implementation of 2017/2018 promotion, the labour leader called on government to fashion out modalities to defray the accumulated gratuities and remittance of outstanding salary deductions to cooperative societies. He congratulated the Governor for the peaceful conduct and successful outcome of the election in the state and wish him well in his future endeavors.