Workers Day: Fubara Assures Salary Increment in Rivers | Independent Newspaper Nigeria

2024-05-01 18:20:07

Independent Newspapers Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT - Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has assured of implementing the salary increase recently approved by the Federal Government for workers in the State as soon as the parameters are made available.

Goveenor Fubara gave the assurance at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, where activities to commemorate the 2024 International Workers Day took place with the theme: 'People First."

The Governor in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Nelson Chukwudi, stated how concerned his administration was about the poor state of the nation's economy, with the attendant rising inflation, which has impacted adversely on the purchasing power and well-being of the average workers and their families.

Governor Fubara said: "Let me assure you that we are going to work with the Federal Government to implement necessary measures, including the continuation of the free bus services and the provision of necessary palliatives to ameliorate the current hardship faced by ordinary citizens.

"We are also committed to implementing the increase in workers' salaries recently approved by the Federal Government as soon as the parameters are made available.

"We are a listening Government, and we have heard the common concerns and demands of labour on the urgency of stimulating economic growth and improving the living conditions of our people."

Governor Fubara acknowledged workers as critical human resources that have continued to contribute immensely to the sustained long-term economic growth of the State.

The Governor noted that workers are indispensable from the production lines of small and big factories to Government offices and institutions.

Fubara further stated that workers play critical roles in the vast oil and gas fields, to the movement of goods and services, where they ensure service delivery, wealth creation, and the advancement of human civilization.

"Rivers State is what it is, economically strong, resilient, and vibrant because of our workers. Our local governments and communities are what they are because workers are doing their jobs.

"Our nation is the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa only because of the commitment, efforts, and achievements of our workers.

"What this means is that there can be no nation-building or progress in society without the input, effort, and sacrifice of the workforce."

Speaking further, Governor Fubara noted, "As a Government, we recognize the roles, importance, and relevance of our workers to the implementation of our policy agenda for economic growth, provision of infrastructure, social progress and advancing the welfare and well-being of citizens.

"This is the reason we are here, not only to celebrate with you, but also to reiterate, reinforce, and reassure us of the inseparable bonds we have with organised labour as partners in progress.

"We may have reasonable causes to disagree, which is normal in every social relationship. But we cannot afford to be at each other's throats and neglect our common responsibilities to advance the peace, security, and progress of our State.

"Less we forget that the social contract binds not only the Government; it applies to the workers as much as patriots."

Governor Fubara recalled his promise made in his inaugural speech, where he proudly reiterated the fact that labour that is his primary constituency will remain so despite the fact that he has become a Governor.

"I stand by this statement even now and for as long as I remain in office as the Governor of Rivers State. I will not disappoint you. I will continue to govern with the fear of God and carry everyone, including labour, along.

"We promised not to neglect the interest and well-being of our workers within the limits of available resources, and we have not faltered on this promise.

"On the 1st of June, 2023, barely three days after the assumption of office, I visited the State Secretariat Complex to see its dilapidated state and take immediate measures to improve the poor working environment of our workers.

"Since then, we have reactivated and restored some facilities and services in the Secretariat Complex, including the water system, elevators, leaking roofs, and improved electricity supply.

"In addition, we have also commissioned a reputable international company to scope the entire complex and advise on the cost of a comprehensive rehabilitation of the Secretariat Complex, which we intend to carry out in phases as available finances will allow."

Governor Fubara said he implemented promotion of staff stagnated over a decade with financial benefits, and approved the recruitment of 1,000 doctors and other medical personnel to strengthen the State's healthcare delivery system.

Also, he said, the State's Contributory Healthcare Insurance Scheme has commenced, urging all workers to take advantage of the benefits of the scheme, adding that the Government was clearing the backlog of gratuities to retired civil servants while ensuring the prompt enrolment and payment of pensions.

"I can assure you that the days of delayed payments of retirement benefits to civil servants are over under our watch.

"We appointed 16 Permanent Secretaries based on merit and equitable spread to local government areas that were hitherto not represented at that level to strengthen the civil service for effective implementation of government policies and optimal delivery of services to our people.

"Few weeks ago, we directed and ensured the implementation of the minimum wage and promotion of our workers in the local government service.

"We have approved and released a grant of N250million only for the completion of the secretariat building of the Nigerian Union of Teachers," he added.

He assured the workers that no amount of intimidation, harassment and sabotage will make his Government change focus, adding that his policy thrusts will continue to be driven by the interest and needs of the people.

The Governor also announced the donation of 100 Million to assuage the sacrifices of the workers who turned up at the stadium for the celebration of the 2024 May Day.

In his address, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Alex Agwanwor, said the theme of 2024 International Labour Day, 'People First', reflects the leadership direction of Governor Fubara, who has continued to prioritise the welfare of workers in the State.

Comrade Agwanwor stated that the Governor implemented promotion for state and local government workers with consequential financial benefits.

Also implemented, he said, were payment of N30,000.00 minimum wage to LG workers, N100,000 Christmas bonus across board to all workers, constitution of governing councils, boards and commissions of government agencies, institutions for effective service delivery, restored functionality of basic utilities at the State Secretariat, and reopened Rivers State Transport Company (RTC).

All of these, he noted, have further motivated workers, and emboldened them to remain unfettered in their support to the success of the Governor Fubara-led Administration while increasing their productivity.

"For us as Rivers State workers, we make bold to state without fear, or favour that, the present Administration of Your Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, is aptly a reflection of the year 2024 theme of Workers Day celebration.

"We acknowledge consistently, the demonstration of Your Excellency's confession of purpose and value driven leadership and administration in thoughts, deeds, and actions, and as critical stakeholders in Rivers State project and beneficiaries of Your Excellency's humane disposition, we offer to journey with you on the quest to positively impact on the lives of Rivers people."

He commended the Governor for making efforts to revamp the abandoned Songhai Integrated Farms at Bunu Tai, and listed other agricultural initiatives such as Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) and C-4 programmes, Delta Rubber Company, among others, as areas the Government must focus on to enhance food sufficiency and security, while taming hunger and raising job creation opportunities in the State.

Also speaking, the Rivers State Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Okechukwu Onyefuru, expressed delight over the recent feat of Governor Fubara in increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N11 Billion to N27 Billion.

Comrade Onyefuru advised that with items like railways and building of refineries moved to the Concurrent List, the State Government should take advantage of this new legal framework, to further grow the State's IGR and create more jobs for the youths.

The TUC chairman also appealed to Governor Fubara to use his good offices to compel International Oil Companies (OICs) not to move their headquarters out of the State, while also thanking him for mediating in the industrial dispute in Indorama Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company Limited at Eleme.

Comrade Onyefuru said Nigerian workers condemned and rejected the recent increase of electricity tariffs, describing it as draconian and anti-people.

The TUC chairman also requested that the salary of primary healthcare workers be moved to the Primary Healthcare Management Board, where he said, they feel better protected.

At the event, the State Civil Servants offered the Governor gifts of a Bible and portrait while the organised labour honoured him with the Labour Champion of Rivers State award for being the most labour-friendly Governor.

2024-05-01 News