By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—The 18-man joint committee comprising the state and labour, set up in Imo State, has unanimously agreed to pay only 70 per cent of workers salary across board, while making reservations for pension.
The state chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Austin Chilakpu, disclosed this yesterday at a press conference in Owerri.
“The 70 per cent of the gross revenue for the month of January 2016 is N3,373,826,736.67. Given that the verified wage bill and pension for the month stood at N5.3 billion, the committee is saddled with a differential of about N1.9 billion”, Chilakpu said.
Continuing, the labour leader explained that “the committee have, in the application of the N3,373,826,736.67 to the settlement of salary and pension due to the workers and pensioners, decided to pay salary earners in the state 70 per cent of their salary across board”.
Comrade Chilakpu further explained that organized labour was not in any way spearheading a downward review of workers salary but only doing the needful with the resources available while hoping to pay up the balances when the revenue improves.
While saying that labour would be fully involved in the payment of salaries to forestall cases of ghost workers picking up salaries, Comrade Chilakpu, however, disclosed that it has set up a committee of financial experts to fast track the salary payment and improve on the financial state of the government as regards revenue generation.
Answering questions from newsmen, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical Issues, who heads the government’s side of the committee, Mr. Ikenna Emeh, pointed out that the payment of salary was not fixed but only a matter of what is available.
“The committee is an ad hoc arrangement and so does not have the right to borrow money. It only has the authority to apply 70 percent of its share to the payment of salaries and pensions”, Emeh said.
While stressing that every person that draws salary from the public treasury of the state, including politicians, civil servants, lawmakers, would be affected by this agreement.
He made bold the claim that the revenue of the state has increased by 15% over the last month as the IGR of the state rose from N215million to N400million in the last month.