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Subsidy removal: Jubilation in Enugu as Mbah announces N25,000 award to civil servants

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Workers in Enugu State have continued to celebrate Wednesday’s announcement by the state Governor Peter Mbah, that a cash award of between N10,000 and N25,000 to the state workers had been approved, with effect from December to April 2024.

According to Mbah, the government’s gesture was meant to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.

The governor hoped that the new minimum wage negotiation would soon be concluded.

He disclosed this during a joint news briefing with the leadership of the organised Labour at the Government House, Enugu, on Wednesday.

He said that his administration was also implementing other social interventions apart from the cash transfer to better the lives of Enugu State workers.

Mbah said that the welfare of workers remained a priority of his administration.

He said that his laudable goals for the state could not be attained without a happy workforce.

He also announced an increase in the state social register enrollment from 43,000 to 260,000.

The governor also promised to lift more indigent citizens out of poverty through cash transfers and other social interventions.

“As you may be aware, since the removal of the petroleum subsidy, we have been in constant negotiation with the labour unions in the state, crafting a way forward on how we can provide palliatives to our teeming workforce.

“So, by the time you put a monetary value to all the social services we have provided, it will weigh well above N100,000 minimum wage.

“But, in addition to that, with effect from December, we are going to also make a flat payment to all the categories of our workers, beginning from our local government to the primary and secondary school teachers and civil servants.

“We are going to categorise them and there will be flat payment of between N10,000 and 25,000, depending on the category.

“That payment is going to continue until April 2024” he said. It is our hope that by the end of April, the committee that is reviewing the minimum wage would have come out with what would then become the new minimum wage in the state.

“So, from there, we are just going to carry on the implementation of what is then set as the minimum wage”, the governor said.

He reaffirmed the determination of his administration to achieve zero per cent poverty headcount index by 2031.

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He said the state had set aside N1.5 billion for social development programmes, like water and sanitation in the communities.

“This is in addition to constructing 260 model primary health centers and 260 smart schools with accompanying teachers’ quarters.

“The state is just concluding the update of our social register and we have now expanded it from 43,000 to accommodate up to 260,000 indigent people in our state.

“That is also a platform that we are going to use to do cash transfers to engage our indigent ones”, he said.

Reacting, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Fabian Nwigbo, and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Benneth Asogwa, thanked the governor for his proactive steps towards the welfare of Enugu workers.

They said they were happy that Enugu workers did not have to lobby, protest or embark on strike to have their salaries and welfare addressed.

“I am overwhelmed by your pronouncements. We are grateful for the announcement because there was no war to get this.

“We did not come begging and crying or shouting and agitating. It was out of the abundance of your heart that you decided to greet us with this big news.

“Actually, it has been great for the people of Enugu State, especially the workers under your administration.

“First of all, our salaries come as and when due and our promotion is also on the way for 2023.

“In the past, you have to spend years before you get promoted.

“So, as workers, we will do all we can to ensure that this government succeeds”, Nwigbo said.

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