By Harris Emanuel
Uyo—Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed readiness to pay the new minimum wage to workers, saying it will be done as soon as negotiations with union leaders are concluded.
Head of Civil Service, Effiong Essien, stated this in an interview in his office in Uyo, the state capital.
“As we speak, Akwa Ibom State is ready to pay the minimum wage and consequential adjustments to workers as provided by the national wages and salary commission.
“Only that labour are trying to ask for more benefits for the workers and that is what is delaying the matter, not that there is any matter.
“Akwa Ibom State is one of the states that has declared intention to pay the new minimum wage. But negotiations are ongoing. The state government has declared to labour that it is ready to pay according to the national template,” he said.
Essien, who acknowledged that there will be an increase in wage bill, explained that states were at liberty to negotiate with labour leaders what they would be able to pay, adding that there was room for states to “decide on what they can pay or not.”
On rumour making the rounds over secret employment into the state civil service, Essien said, “There is no secret recruitment going on. The civil service commission advertised last year that applicants should upload their applications into the state government website and this is to allow government at any point that government wants to engage workers to check those who are qualified from the data received and engage them, so that has been going on.
“Late last year, the state government had need for the services of medical personnel. Probably that is the one you are talking about, it was not secret.
“From the application platform, candidates were selected and interviewed and employed as medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, and allied medical personnel and they are in service. So, it was not a secret thing,” he said.
The Head of Civil Service also gave assurance that in line with the governor’s directive, the process of engaging those that made first class in 2017 from the Akwa Ibom State University was on and would be effected soon.