ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, has announced cash awards of between N10,000 and N25,000 to the State workers till April 2024.
He also assured that the new minimum wage negotiation would soon be concluded.
He also announced an increase by his administration of the state social register enrolment from 43,000 to 260,000, promising to lift more indigent citizens through cash transfers and other social interventions.
According to the Governor, the welfare of workers remained the priority of his administration, as his laudable goals for Enugu could not be attained without a happy workforce.
He made these known during a joint media briefing with the State’s labour leaders at the Government House, Enugu, on Wednesday.
Governor Mbah revealed that the administration was also making other social interventions apart from the cash transfer to better the lives of Enugu State workers.
“As you may be aware, since the removal of the petroleum subsidy, we have been in constant negotiation with the labour unions in the state, crafting a way forward on how we can provide palliatives to our teeming workforce.
“So, by the time you put a monetary value to all the social services we have provided, it will weigh well above N100,000 minimum wage.
“But in addition to that, with effect from next month (December), we are going to also make a flat payment to all categories of our workers, beginning from our local government to the primary and secondary school teachers, and civil servants. We are going to categorise them and there will be flat payment of between N10,000 and 25,000, depending on the category. That payment is going to continue till April.
“Our hope is that by the end of April, the committee that is reviewing the minimum wage would have come out with what would then become the new minimum wage in the state. So, from there, we are just going to carry on the implementation of what is then set as the minimum wage”, he stated.
Mbah reiterated the determination of his administration to achieve zero per cent poverty headcount index by 2031, saying the state had set aside N1.5 billion for social development programmes like water and sanitation in the communities in addition to constructing 260 model primary healthcare centers and 260 smart schools with accompanying teachers’ quarters.
“Importantly, the state is just concluding the update of our social register. We have now expanded our social register from 43,000 to accommodate up to 260,000 indigent people in our state. That is also a platform that we are going to use to do cash transfers to engage our indigent ones”, the Governor added.
In their reactions, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Fabian Nwigbo and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Benneth Asogwa, thanked the Governor for his proactive steps towards the welfare of Enugu workers, saying they were happy that Enugu workers did not have to lobby, protest, or embark on strike to have their salaries and welfares addressed.
“I am overwhelmed by your pronouncements this afternoon. We are grateful for the announcement because there was no ‘war-war’ to get this. This one came on a platter of gold. We did not come begging and crying or shouting and agitating. It was out of the abundance of your heart that you decided to greet us with this big news.
“Actually, it has been great for the people of Enugu State, especially the workers under your administration. First of all, our salaries come as and when due. Our promotion is also on the way for 2023. In the past, you have to spend years before you get promoted. So, as workers, we will do all we can to ensure that this government succeeds”, Nwigbo said
Adding his voice, the TUC state chairman, Asogwa, said: “You have made us today to understand that all that you said during the election were no political promises. We have come to realise that you meant business. If you could move this far within a few months of taking over as the governor of Enugu State, that means we are very sure that our tomorrow is bright”.