…says govt. has not abandoned pensioners
Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu has said that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu will not disappoint the people of Abia who re-elected him for another term in office, adding that Abians should expect a glorious performance.
He also said that the state government will not abandon pensioners and teachers in the state who are being owed backlog of salaries and pensions, maintaining that there is nothing unusual with the Workers Day protest by pensioners in the state. According to him the pensioners still love governor Okezie despite the May Day grievance.
News Critic Newspaper reports that the May 1st workers’ day celebration held at Ibeku High school Umuahia, was briefly disrupted by pensioners clad in all black attire, who protested the non-payment of their pension arrears by the Abia State government. However, the event continued after the pensioners were pacified.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with News Critic in Umuahia, Hon. Okiyi maintained that people should not be worried over the event of May Day, adding that it is a day for workers to protest. He pointed out that despite the pensioners’ grievance, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Abia state during his speech applauded the state government for prompt payment of workers’ salaries and for doing well in the state.
Okiyi disclosed that the MDAs which form the nucleus of civil service in the state are not being owed salaries by the state government because they are paid directly by the government, saying that government don’t pay paratatals because they generate money. ‘’It’s not the job of government to pay parastatals because they don’t remit their revenue to government’’, he noted.
He said that government has told them to pay workers’ salaries first and also innovate ways to generate more income if their revenue is not enough. He said that it’s only 30 per cent of parastatals that are owing workers’ salaries.
Institutions like Abia Polytechnic, college of Education Arochukwu and college of health technology, according to Okiyi should be able to pay workers because they collect school fees and also receive subventions.
Speaking further, the commissioner said that issues of teachers and pensioners are of concern to the state government which is making serious efforts to address it. We have to secure the state, build infrastructure and pay salaries. We have not abandoned them. We will intervene to ensure the paratatals pay workers’ salaries’’, he declares.
He assured pensioners that they will start to receive their money.
On the new minimum wage, Chief Okiyi stated that the state is prepared to pay as soon as it receives the salary sheet from the federal government. Adding that whatever other states are paying that is what Abia will pay its workers. He said there is nothing like Abia formula again where the state will pay above the average.
The commissioner promised that the second tenure of Governor Ikpeazu will be memorable in terms of development. He disclosed that the state government will complete the 97 ongoing road projects and also do additional 500 kilometres of roads. In education, he said 300 additional classroom-blocks will be built, while government will also expand and modernize health care delivery system.
‘’The people leaving around Obohia road Aba; Ngwa road, Omuma, Port Harcourt roads should prepare because respite is coming and we will do a lot of beautification in Aba and Umuahia’’. Okiyi said that government is going to give impetus to the Enyimba Economic City and ready to launch the first automated shoe factory in Aba this month.
On Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia, he said government supported the private investor to resuscitate the brewery which has now started production. He said the Modern Ceramics Industry will receive attention soon.