From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has approved the immediate payment of N10,000 and N5,000 to civil servants and pensioners in the state, respectively, as palliative for six months.
Sule gave the directive Monday after meeting with labour leaders at the Government House in Lafia.
According to him, the directive also include paying the same amount for workers and pensioners at the local government level, aimed at cushioning the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.
Sule said, “the arrangement for the palliative is very simple. The Federal Government will give us N4bn in cash, as well as N1bn in cash in order to cushion the hardship created by the removal of fuel subsidy.
“The one billion is going to be in form of a loan which the state is going to pay back. The N4bn is going to be divided into two, N2.08bn would be borne by the Federal Government and N1.02bn is by the state. It’s a grant and loan combined together. Every state has taken N2bn so far.
“A lot of people don’t understand much about that N4bn. The way it was calculated was that we are going to buy one hundred thousand bags of 50kg rice at N40, 000 per bag and share in the state. That is the understanding of Mr. President. Part of it is loan, part of it is grant but you are going to buy 100, 000 bags of rice.
“This one that we are talking about that we are giving as palliative, including the N10000 and N5000, is not out of this N2bn. I think it’s good that we have that clear understanding. The local governments are giving out of their improved allocation, out of the improved revenue that we are getting as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy,” he said.
Sule, while responding to the plea by the labour leaders to use the money meant to be given to workers as palliative to implement consequential increment for workers on Grade level 7 and above as well as promotions, said his administration would rather do something that would give every citizen of the state a sense of belonging.
He further urged the labour unions to be realistic in their demands, especially given the prevailing economic realities.
The governor however, assured the labour leaders that the issues of consequential increment and promotion would be addressed by his administration.
“At the end of the six months period, hopefully our income would remain the same or even better. From the seventh month, I have absolutely no problem. Instead of using the resources for something else, we would use some percentage to address the consequential increment,” he added.
He directed the state Accountant General, Head of Civil Service, Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Director General, Nasarawa State Pension Bureau as well as the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), to liaise together with a view to commencing the payment of the palliative with immediately effect.
Responding, the state chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ayuba Ismaila Oko and Mohammed Doma, both agreed with the governor, regarding the payment of ten thousand naira and five thousand naira to workers and pensioners.
Other labour leaders, including the representative of state pensioners, praised the governor for his generosity.