The organized labour in Kogi State has hailed Governor Yahaya Bello for constituting an independent committee to commence prompt payment of 3 to 4 months salaries arrears to civil servants in the state.
The Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Onuh Edoka, who spoke during the inauguration of the committee by Governor Bello on Monday in Lokoja, said the State Chief Executive has held up to the agreement reached by government and the union to offset salary arrears with the latest tranche of the Paris refund.
The committee was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring effective, transparent, accountability and prompt payment of salaries and arrears.
The organised labour hoped that the committee, as constituted, would carry out the payment exercise transparently and give Kogi workers renewed confidence in the state government.
“The table payment is part of the moves aimed at sanitizing the payroll of the state and we are fully in support of it. We believe that this exercise will finally put to rest all the discrepancies associated with the payment system in the state,” Edoka said.
The NLC state chairman expressed satisfaction over the governor’s commitment to the civil service reform and the transparency of the New Direction administration in regards to the wage bill of the state.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to release the balance of the N30 billion bailout fund to Kogi State to enable the government to clear other entitlements of workers.
Edoka pledged the readiness of labour to help the state government in securing the remaining tranches from the Federal Government.
On his part, Bello said the committee was inaugurated to, amongst other things, enable the government to know the exact number of civil servants on the state’s payroll and those cleared and are yet to be paid.
He said the effort would put an end to the issue of civil servants cleared and not paid, adding that his request for table payment was mainly to ensure that no genuine civil servant was left unpaid.
“Discharge your duties diligently and with the fear of God. Do the right things, no preferential treatments, favour no one above the other. Let’s effect accountability. We have come a long way in sanitizing the system. I commend the organised labour and every genuine civil servant for their patience,” he added.
According to the governor, the government because of its love for transparency and accountability, every fund that has come into the state treasury from inception has always been accounted for.
“On assumption of office, the government applied to access the bailout funds to pay salaries owed workers by the previous government and when the first phase of the money which was N20 billion came, in agreement with labour, N10 billion was used to pay salaries while N10 billion was released to local governments. The utilisation was published in our national dailies,” he said.
While assuring civil servants of his administration’s willingness to continue to place utmost priority on the welfare of the workers, Bello added that the issue of salaries in the state would soon become a thing of the past.
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