Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has approved an additional N200 million for the payment of pensioners’ gratuity for the month of May.
The governor gave the approval on Sunday at this year’s Workers’ Day celebration while responding to the demands of labour leaders in the state.
Diri assured retirees that N400 million would be made available in May to accommodate a sizeable number of pensioners in view of the backlog of arrears.
The governor appreciated workers in the state for their support and the existing harmonious industrial relationship with his administration.
He said that his government would prioritise workers’ welfare to enhance productivity.
The governor also approved a number of the workers’ requests, including the implementation of the annual step increment as well as the release of funds for the conduct of the 2022 promotion for both the state and local government workers.
Diri also approved the financial implementation of the 2021 promotion for workers and directed the relevant government officials to negotiate with labour, to come up with feasible recommendations as soon as possible.
On payment of minimum wage to workers in tertiary institutions in the state, Diri explained that an implementation and revision committee had been set up under the leadership of his deputy, and the report was being awaited for full implementation.
“I am not unaware of the long queue for pensioners’ gratuity monthly. As you are aware, we are treating the backlog of payment of gratuity.
“Therefore, for the month of February, we have looked at the figure, and have come up with an addition. Monthly, we release N200 million for pension and gratuities.
“This month, we will add an additional N200 million. In other words, N400 million will be made available for the payment of pensions and gratuities.”
Diri also directed the Commissioner for Education, Gentle Emelah, to come up with recommendations for the monthly running cost of government-owned technical colleges for immediate implementation.
Also, the governor directed the relevant officials in the Ministry of Health to ensure the payment of call-duty allowance to specialist nurses as approved in 2014 in tandem with extant rules.
According to him, the administration will establish technical colleges across the eight local government areas of the state to train people as employers of labour, rather than becoming job seekers.
In a joint address by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), presented by the state NLC chairman, Mr John Ndiomu, labour was full of praises for the Diri administration’s workers-friendly posture.
The NLC and TUC applauded the governor for prompt payment of salaries and gratuities, infrastructure development, and numerous other projects that were ongoing across the state.
Ndiomu commended the state government for releasing N117 million monthly to support the payment of primary school teachers in local governments.
According to him, the complete implementation of the Oracle payment system at the state level and the building of a befitting edifice for the state’s media organisations are some of the achievements that have endeared Diri to workers in the state.
The high point of the celebration was the pronouncement of a cash award by the governor for the march past.
The state chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria clinched the first prize of N2 million, while the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives got the second prize of N1.5 million, and the third prize of N1 million went to the state branch of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners. (NAN)