Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Unemployed graduates in Ebonyi State were shocked by Governor David Umahi, on Tuesday, when he announcement that there would be no further recruitment of new workers in the state until welfare packages demanded by the state workforce were met.
Governor Umahi made the announcement while addressing workers during the May Day celebration in the state at Abakaliki Township Stadium.
He agreed that salaries of workers in the state could not really take them home and therefore would not recruit more workers till the situation is remedied.
“There will be no further recruitment of workers until at least the workers of Ebonyi State; their welfare and salaries are things that we can take home; same with other states in the federation”, he announced.
This was even as the workers rejected the governor’s proposed reduction of contributory pension scheme from their salary with thunderous shouts of No! No! No!
“You requesting for the contributory pension act. Incidentally, the law has been made. You are the one that rejected it. We gave back that law to you to make amendments and return the law to you.
“If you approve, the deduction for pension starts in the month of May. But I can see that the request by the Labour Union leadership is not the opinion of workers”, he said.
He, however, said that has mapped out welfare packages and loan for the workers took cushion the effects of the hard economic realities in the country.
“We have secured a loan of N2 billion from the Bank of Industry. We have also saved up N2 billion of our own fund. We have added the two together to make a total of N4 billion.
“And I want to ask workers for their choice. N2 billion is our savings towards their welfare; the other N2 billion is Bank of Industry loan. You are expected to choose any business of your choice; get any loan on or within your capacity at an interest rate of 5% of a repayment programme of 5 years”, he said.
Meanwhile the Governor, however, promised better pay rise for civil servants of the state while assuring that the state government will pay the proposed new national minimum wage when fully implemented by the federal government.