Workers Day: Umahi pledges to pay new minimum wage
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has pledged to pay the new minimum wage for workers once appropriated for by the state House of Assembly.
Umahi made the pledge on Wednesday in Abakaliki during the 2019 Workers Day celebration.
According to the governor, a joint negotiating committee comprising of representatives of government and the organised labour in the state would be inaugurated on Thursday, to ensure effective implementation of the new wage.
“The payment will however, pass through legislation of the state House of Assembly like what was obtained in the national assembly which appropriated N160 billion for its payment.
“It is not going to be a new law but an appropriation of an increase in salary with an approval to make such payment monthly,” he said.
The governor noted that afterwards, a stakeholders meeting would be convened to deliberate on the issue.
He added that the government would not expend all of its funds to pay only salaries.
“When one wants to make an omelette, he must break an egg as there will definitely be review of school fees paid by students of the state-owned higher institutions, taxes, among others.
“These would enable us pay the minimum wage effectively because the governor will not perform magic to pay it being confronted with infrastructure, health among other needs,” he said.
He chided the workers for kneeling down for him to appeal for the payment of the April salaries of workers from Abakaliki and Ikwo LGAs, seized because of sponsorship of communal crisis in the areas.
“I regret anybody kneeling down for me, its reserved for God and I am here by God’s special grace and not by qualification.
“I understood the magnitude of your feelings for the affected workers but I am sure that the salary seizure did not affect workers from the entire councils but Igbeagu, Enyibichiri and other affected communities.
“Security reports indicate that workers from these areas pay dues shared in these communities when their senseless youths instigate crises in the name of fighting for the people,” he said.
Mr Leonard Nkah, NLC Chairman in state, congratulated the governor on his electoral victory and appealed for the payment of the seized salaries of workers from the affected LGAs of the state.
“These workers are not involved in funding those who instigate crises in these areas because their salaries are not even enough to solve their needs.
“We urge you to implement the payment of the new minimum wage act- 2019, implement promotion in the civil and public service in line with the relevant committee’s reports and the civil service guidelines, among others,” he said.
Mr Michael Nwonu, Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) called for general improvement in workers’ welfare, pledging their commitment to the development of the state.
The occasion in the state was marked with speeches from relevant labour leaders, match pass by unions under the NLC and TUC among other activities.