The Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration in Enugu State in keeping with its commitment to the welfare of the civil servants and retirees in the state has approved the setting aside of the sum of N100 million every month for the gradual payment of gratuities to state’s retired civil servants, totaling N1.2 billion a year.
The decision was part of the outcome of the meeting between the Enugu State Executive Council (EXCO) and the leadership of the Organized Labour in the state. Briefing newsmen at the Government House, Enugu shortly after the meeting, the State Chairmen of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe and Comrade Virginus Nwobodo, respectively, also stated that the council approved for them the payment of non-remitted National Housing Funds deductions made from workers’ salaries between year 2000 and 2004, which amounted to the sum of N82, 714, 506.00.
They added that it was agreed that the payment would be made in three equal installments within eight months, while the payment of gratuities takes effect from May, 2018. According to them, “within 2000 and 2004 deductions were made from workers’ salaries as National Housing Funds but were not remitted to the Federal Mortgage Bank and now workers are retiring every day and they need their refund.
“So we appealed to Gov. Ugwuanyi, a true labour-friendly governor, for intervention. Although the deductions were done by the two previous regimes, the governor said we should come and when we came today, the council approved the payment of N82.7 million to be paid in three equal installments within eight months”.
The leaders of Organized Labour, who expressed gratitude to Governor Ugwuanyi and other members of the EXCO for the “rare gesture and considerations”, also disclosed that the Biometric Capturing of 80 workers of the Enugu State Waste Management Authority (ESWAMA) absorbed into the State Civil Service was equally approved with effect
from May this year. The leadership of the Organized Labour pointed out that the approvals were sequel to the requests made to the governor by the workers and pensioners during their recent solidarity rally in support of good governance in Enugu State and his re-election in 2019, saying: “We are happy today that His Excellency through the ratification of State Executive Council has granted our requests”. They noted that the issue of gratuities, which was largely inherited from past administrations, had remained a source of concern to the workers and pensioners as “the bill is rising every day”, expressing delight that the gradual payment system adopted by the state government was a welcome development that will go a long way in ameliorating the plight of the retirees. In his remark, the Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Hon. Charles Ogbo Asogwa stated that the council approved all the demands presented before it by the workers because of its commitment to their welfare and the wellbeing of the people of the state. Hon. Asogwa added that the outcome of the meeting was a demonstration of the cordial working relationship between the state government and the workers of the state, assuring them that “the government is poised to give priority attention to the past and future demands of the labour in Enugu State”.