May Day: Gov Orji Reaffirms Prompt Payment Of Wages *Clinches Labour "Hero" Award

20140503-004348.jpgGovernor of Abia state, Chief Theodore Orji has reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to the prompt payments of salaries and allowances due to workers in the state, just as he expressed happiness over the cordial relationship existing between Labour and our Government.

He governor who said this at the occasion of the celebration of the 2014 annual workers’ day which held t Ibeku High School, Umuahia on Thursday, emphasised that the collaboration is the sure route to achieving collective prosperity, security and welfare of all Abians.

He said there was good reasons to celebrate the workers that in Abia State for their improving productivity, stabilizing effect on the polity and peaceful environment being enjoyed by the people, adding that the theme of this year’s Workers’ Day: ‘Building Enduring Peace and Unity – Panacea for Sustainable National Development’ came at a very unique time in Abia State and coincides with the era when the Government is consolidating our legacy projects.

According to him, “It is our aim to consolidate our legacy projects to provide the foundation that will drive the new face of Abia, towards a sustainable and predictable development. Now more than ever before, our State desires industrial harmony and the security of lives and property to move our development forward, and I know I can count on our Workers cooperation to do all these.

“I salute our workers of the State for having kept faith with our Government as we struggled in the past years to strengthen our nascent democracy, preserve our security of lives and property; create job opportunities to empower our youths, and pursuing our legacy projects as a preferred development strategy.

“Our efforts have achieved results in the health sector, in the agricultural sector to improve food security and create employment; in re-building our neglected infrastructure, improving our commerce through provision of new markets and in improving our educational system, etc.

“Through these many competing demands, the workers of Abia State continued to work hard, support and trust our Government, and you did not embark on any disruptive industrial actions. Instead, you imbibed the spirit of amicable settlement and peaceful resolutions wherever there were some disagreements. I commend you for this.

“I especially salute the leadership of the NLC and TUC of Abia State, for working to support our security and peace efforts in the State, which have earned us the recognition as one of the most peaceful States in the Nation and as an investment friendly State. That is why the Abia economy is now taking an upwards swing. In all your supports to our Government, the leadership of Abia workers has not abandoned the needs and rights of our workers in your interactions with our Government.

“I also acknowledge that the workers of Abia State have been alive to your social responsibilities, and it was your votes that helped liberate Abia from the clutches of oppression, making it possible for our Government to focus on the needs of our citizens, especially the welfare of our workers and in the improvement of our overall economy.

“That is why in the past, we did not hesitate to implement the new national minimum wage for workers, even paying above what other States committed to.

“Just like I promised you during our last workers’ day celebration, we are fast concluding the construction of a befitting new secretariat complex, and our workers are already moving in there to occupy the spaces. I am now happy that our workers can now work in a relative comfortable environment, and we will also continue to promote our workers as-when due, as well as provide the necessary incentives that promote a healthy workforce.

“Recently, I commissioned one of our housing estates in Isieke, this and our other estates at Amuba and Adelabu are all focused on providing decent and affordable accommodations for all categories of workers. We will continue along this line.

“Through our Labor desk that is manned by your former Chairman of State NLC, we continue to enjoy a harmonious working relationship with all labor unions.

“We will continue to seek this path of cooperation with our workers, so that together, we will build full support and acceptance of government’s good intentions to serve all Abians.

“Our Government will continue to build on the primary areas of cooperation with our Labour Unions, especially through mutual understanding of all issues affecting Labour and our collaborative pro-activeness in addressing all sore areas. I am confident that these paths will be mutually useful in addressing all outstanding labour issues in our State.

“I am very pleased to note the implementation of the minimum wage bill in three parastatals of our State – which were outstanding when we celebrated last year, especially in ADP, Abia Library Board and Abia State Council for Arts and Culture. I assure you that we will soon commence the implementation of out-standing arrears of payments to these workers.

“We will continue to promote the independence of some of our State parastatals where necessary, to enable them assist in improving our State IGR, and also address any other existing disparities in the payment of the minimum wage in our State.

“I am aware that some of our Teachers’ salaries are paid in arrears, including that of the Health Management Board, Teaching Hospital Aba and the Project Implementation Units (PIU). Our Government is working very hard to clear these arrears.

“Also as a pensionable worker myself, I am very sensitive to the plights of Abia pensioners, and know that our government has been in arrears in meeting our obligations to retirees, especially in the payments of gratuities and accruing pensions. We are very anxious to meet such obligations to all pensioners and doing whatever is possible to address the issues.

“Our Government is doing everything possible to improve our financial status, especially our internally generated revenue, so that we will be able to honor our obligations to all workers and retirees as-when-due.

“We are also committed to the prompt payments of salaries and special allowances due to medical and health workers. That is why I recently set up two committees to review and harmonize the fees and levies payable to the State, so that both the State and the tax-paying public can reach a dependable platform for improved and predictable IGR.

“The welfare of Abia workers will continue to occupy a primary position in the agenda of our Administration, and I am proud of the cordial relationship existing between Labour and our Government. This collaborative approach is certainly the sure route to follow if we must reach the collective prosperity, security and welfare of all Abians.

“I am aware that there are two other outstanding promises I made to Abia workers that are not fully fulfilled. One of these is our Government’s resolve to assist Abia Workers to build your befitting Labour House in the State, for the promotion of labour values. I want to restate here that our Government is ready to step in when Labour makes the first move to realize this project. That is why we have made an allocation of a plot of land to Labour to house the project.

“The second outstanding promise I made to Labour, is the provision of buses to your Unions. I have already made good on this by providing one bus to your Union, and the others will come in due course as we manage our lean resources.

“To whom much is given or promised, much is expected. Therefore, as we celebrate today’s workers’ day, I urge all our workers to renew their faith, support and devotion to our Government, knowing that our Government means well for all Abians, and we are workers’ friendly. We cannot develop this State without your full support and sacrifices.

“Our Government is in a hurry to develop this State, and all our efforts are directed towards making Abia better for all citizens, including workers. That is why we must build a sustainable economy of Abia State, and a more secured State, where our workers are full partners. God willing we will not fail Abia State and we will not fail our workers!

“I will end this address by renewing my confidence in the abilities of Abia workers, and as we celebrate today, I call on all of us to rededicate to the over-all work ethics of our service, and to drive this commitment to the service and well-being of the good people of Abia State.”

Meanwhile the Abia State chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have conferred the award of the Hero of the Nigeria Public Service on Governor Theodore Orji in appreciation of his good works in the state.

Also conferred with the award of Pillar of the Nigeria Public Service is the wife of the Governor, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji, for her supportive role to her husband which has enabled him to excel in government.

Speaking before conferring the awards on the Governor during the celebration of the 2014 annual Workers’ day at the Ibeku High School, Umuahia, the state chairman of the NLC, Comrade Sylvanus Eyeh, said the governor after 22 years of the creation of the state has laid a solid foundation for the state.

According to him, Governor Orji is a pride to the Abia Public Service which had earlier celebrated him as the Icon of the Public Service, adding that a combination of the private and public service sectors resolved to honour him as the hero of the Nigeria Public Service in recognition of his exemplary leadership potentials.


News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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