By Onomiguren Agbamu
As part of measures to cushion the impact of fuel subsidy removal, Delta state Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has rolled out palliatives for workers in the state, with each set to receive an additional N10,000 monthly as support from the government.
The Governor also announced that the state’s 50,196 workforce will now work in shifts and from home.
The Governor disclosed this in Asaba shortly after he was sworn in of the 26 Commissioners as members of the State Executive Council.
He said the payment to support the workers would commence in August and last for three months.
He explained that workers on grade levels 1-14 will run two shifts, with one set reporting to the office from Mondays to Wednesdays, and another set working reporting from Thursdays to Fridays.
Working days for workers on grade levels 15 and above are to be worked out by the various MDAs as suitable to them, he stated.
The Governor explained that he has set up a Committee to plan for the provision of palliatives for people living with disabilities, widows, poor and vulnerable households, and the aged in the society.
Oborevwori said: “We are keeping faith with the electorate to make life richer and more fulfilling for them, as contained in the M.O.R.E Agenda.
“I am pleased to report that this administration has taken decisive steps to improve the welfare of our workers, which is an integral part of the MORE agenda.
“To cushion the hardship our people are facing as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy and the downward spiral of the Naira against the dollar, I have approved the payment of Ten Thousand (N10, 000.00) Naira to the fifty thousand, one hundred and ninety-six workers (50,196) in the state public service for the next three months starting from August.
“The staff figure includes employees of the ten higher institutions in the state.
“Furthermore, I have approved that workers from salary grade Levels 1-14 should run shifts as follows: First Batch: Monday – Wednesday; Second Batch: Thursday – Friday.
“This schedule will be implemented on a rotational basis. Those who work from Monday-Wednesday in one week will work Thursday to Friday the following week to ensure fairness and equity.
“The schedule for officers from salary grade Levels 15 and above is to be worked out by the various MDAs as it is suitable for them. However, staff on essential services must be on duty while working remotely is also encouraged. The other arms of government – the judiciary and legislature – are to work out their modalities as they deem fit.”
Furthermore, the Governor said he has given approval for the payment of outstanding promotion arrears to twenty-three thousand, eight hundred and eighty-seven (23,887) workers in the state public service.
“The total amount payable is five billion, five hundred and twenty-two million, six hundred and thirty-seven thousand, eight hundred and forty-eight Naira, and five kobo (N5, 522,637, 848.05). The payment commences from this month of August and will be made in four tranches as follows: Ministries – August; Judiciary, Parastatals, and Hospitals Management Board – September; Higher Institutions – October; Post Primary Education Board – November.”
The Governor said he has consulted the leadership of ALGON to roll out their palliatives to its workforce.
He said: “As you are aware, local government workers are not under the administration of the state. However, we have held consultations with the leadership of ALGON and it is our earnest expectation that ALGON will implement the same palliative measures for its workers”.
He reiterated his call on elected officials and political appointees to be their brother’s keeper given the prevailing economic hardship in the country.
“Our people are going through very difficult times. Therefore, those of us that have the privilege of public office must do everything within our power to bring relief to the poor and the less privileged. Please be available to the people.
“This is critical because our people need to see that we care. There is a saying that people do not care how much you know until they see how much you care,” Oborevwori added.
The Governor said: “Consistent with my pledge to be Governor for all, I have constituted a committee headed by the SSG and other stakeholders including labour to work out palliatives that will cover the following segments of the population, namely; People Living with Disabilities (PwDs); Widows; Poor and vulnerable households that do not belong to the above categories; and the aged.
“I expect us to roll out palliatives for these categories of people as soon as the committee submits its report. Meanwhile, the committee is also looking at the possibility of the state government acquiring electric vehicles for public transportation.
“The committee has equally been mandated to initiate the process of converting the existing Tricycle (popularly known as keke) assembly plant in Asaba into a dual-purpose factory that will be able to produce gas-powered keke, in addition to those running on petrol. If this is done, it should significantly drive down the cost of transportation”.
He said his administration would soon bring the thorny issue of unpaid local government pensions to a final resolution.
Governor, Oborevwori, said: “My administration helped to secure legislative approval for the local government councils to obtain an N40 billion bank loan to enable them to liquidate their backlog of pension liabilities.
“The loan, which is guaranteed by the state government, is payable over a five-year period and will be deducted from the accounts of the local government councils. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the payment of the pensions should commence soon.
“I have also given the nod for the local government councils to recruit teaching and non-teaching staff to fill up existing vacancies.
“At least 2,000 persons will be gainfully employed through this process. In due course, we shall carry out a comprehensive audit of the physical infrastructure in our primary and secondary schools to enable us to know where there are gaps and respond accordingly.
“My administration will spare no expense in providing the conducive climate essential for high-quality learning experiences in our schools”.
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