By Chimezie Anaso
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has said that he would increase salaries of civil servants in the state when the monthly Internally Generated revenue hits n2.4 billion.
Obiano said this while addressing the state workers at the 2017 May Day celebration in Awka on Monday.
This was after the labour movement in the state had in a joint address called for the declaration of state of emergency on increase of workers’ pay in Anambra.
Obiano who pointed out that the current IGR of the state was between N1.4 and N1.5 billion said he was reiterating the promise because of his administration’s commitment to welfare of workers in the state.
He recalled that he had earlier made the promise when he assumed office in 2014 when he said that he would increase salaries when the state’s IGR improved from the then N500 million to N1 billion.
He said he effected the increment in 2015 automatically when the improvement came.
The governor said he had directed the chairman of the state civil service commission to commence the process that would lead to promotion of those due before the end of the year.
He commended labour in the state for their support for his administration and enjoined them to continue to do so.
Earlier, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade union Congress (TTUC) in the state had urged Obiano to declare State of emergency for upward review of salary of workers.
In the joint address delivered by Mr Jerry Nnubia, Chairman of NLC in the state, the workers commended the governor for prompt payment of salaries but pointed out that it was now grossly inadequate.
He said some of the injustices against labour which gave birth to the struggle in the 19th century during which lives were lost were still seen today especially as it concerned the Nigerian worker.
He said the celebration which was themed “Labour Relations in Recession an Appraisal” was to make it relevant to the extant economic realities in Nigeria.
One will feel sorry for the Nigerian worker because they are the worst hit by the present economic situation in Nigeria.
“Inflation is at the highest level of 17.26 per cent with prices of goods and services hitting the roof, while the wages of workers remain static at N18, 000 minimum wage.
“Remember when the N18, 000 minimum wage was approved in 2011, dollar was below N160 and now dollar is about N400.
“Your Excellency, in as much as we appreciate your kind disposition towards workers, it is still very clear that we are passing through untold hardship, what we receive cannot scratch our basic need at the surface,’’ he said.
The organised labour also listed other challenges facing them as delay in promotion, disparity in implementation of health workers salary structure between local and state government workers.
Decreasing number of teachers following massive retirement, payment of pensions to local government workers who retired between 2014 and 2017, training for workers and low cost housing.
The labour movement also honoured Obiano with the award of most labour friendly governor in Anambra and endorsed him for second term in the Nov. 18, 2017 elections in the state.