TUC President Scores Gov Emmanuel High On Workers’ Welfare
The President of the Nigerian Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, has commended the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for prompt payment of salaries and emoluments for workers in his state.
Comrade Kaigama who is also the President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, spoke while accompanying members of the National Public Service Negotiating Councils 1, 11 and 111, led by the Head of Service (HOS) of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, on a visit to the Governor in Government House, Uyo.
He said the Governor’s ingenuity has added to improved working conditions of employees and enhanced public service delivery in the state.
Kaigama stated that the organized labour groups have acknowledged the contributions of the Akwa Ibom State Government in industrialization, and applauded the Governor’s efforts at diversifying the State economy.
Speaking while receiving the team, Governor Udom Emmanuel described the visit by the team as an honour in recognition of his administration’s value to human resources development, advocating for stronger harmonious relationship with employees in the public sector.
Stressing the importance of human resources, the Governor said, “I don’t see any country that would just relegate the importance of human capital development to the background, so, we will always give it top priority here and that is why we look forward to a very harmonious relationship between the Labour and Government”.
The State Chief Executive, assured that his administration is committed to regular and prompt payment of salaries and pensions to the state public servants, in addition to the pursuit of the industrialization policy, while soliciting for the inclusion of Akwa Ibom State Government in the ongoing Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.
According to him “the greatest assets we have in the country are our people, so, anything we can do to motivate our people to bring out the best in them, will go a long way. Incorporate us in this housing scheme, especially for our civil servants and let us see what we can do”.
He solicited for the restructuring of the Contributory Pensions Scheme to enable public servants benefit from the scheme before retirement.
The Governor was of the opinion that restructuring the process and putting systems in place for the contributors to access the scheme early, would enhance their lifestyle and even prolonged their lives to enjoy the benefits of the programme.
“Why do somebody need to wait until he is no more useful economically before he draws from that pensions scheme? Sitting on over six trillion of the pensions scheme, how beneficial is that, to the workers? How can we create money out of that amount to benefit civil servants,” Gov Emmanuel queried.
Earlier, the Head of Service of the Federation, who was represented by the Chairman of Council and Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack, said the team of the Negotiating Council was in the state for a 3 day meeting to exchange ideas on initiating proper strategy in addressing various issues in the welfare and conditions of service of public servants for improved productivity.
Mrs. Oyo-Ita explained that the National Public Service Negotiating Council, “is a vital collective bargaining instrument to address the conditions of service and collective welfare of workers in Nigeria”, adding that the theme of this year’s meeting, ‘Emerging Employer – Employee Relations Management Strategy for Addressing Potential Conflicts in the Public Sector’, was aptly chosen.
She disclosed that, in line with the reform initiative, the Federal Government,has developed a 2017 to 2020 strategic plan for the civil service with improved welfare and benefit packages for civil servants as well as establishing a new Service Welfare Office to oversee the wellbeing of civil servants from entry to exit.
The HOS also noted that the ongoing FISH programme “is designed to provide affordable housing for civil servants through an integrated strategy involving group land allocation, site services, infrastructure development and inter-ministerial collaboration”, mentioning that provision has been made for collaboration and partnership with states government and hoped that Akwa Ibom State would utilize the opportunity.