The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra chapter, has kicked against the “illegal deductions” from civil servants’ salaries for the recapitalisation of Ndi-Olu Micro Finance Bank Limited (NMFB).
Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, the state Chairman of the party, said at a news conference in Awka on Friday that the party was worried by the development.
Nwobu therefore charged the All Progressives Grand Alliance administration in the state to stop the deductions forthwith and reimburse the workers to the tune of the deductions.
According to him, the state government ordered a three-month deduction of varying percentages from workers’ salaries for the bank’s recapitalisation.
He quoted a memo purportedly written by the Head of Service on March 8, 2021, where the Accountant -General and Secretary of Joint Account Allocation Committee were directed to make such deductions as “contributions to the stabilisation of the troubled bank”.
Nwobu said the memo arose following Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to all micro finance banks in the country to raise their capital base before April 30.
He said the memo directed percentage deductions as follow: Level 1-3: N500, Level 4-7: N1, 200, Level 8: N2,300, Level 9-10: N2,250 and Level 12-13: N4, 500, Level 14-16: N5,000 and Level 17: N5,200.
He said: “PDP is genuinely concerned about the welfare of Anambra civil servants, who are coerced to part with certain percentages of meager take home salaries.
“One begins to wonder why the workers, whose salaries were deducted from March, will continue to be exploited for three months when the CBN’s directive was meant to be implemented before April 30.
“It is on record that Anambra civil servants belong to the class of least paid workers in Nigeria.
“What a responsible and responsive government should be doing now is to think of what to do to alleviate their sufferings and not making things harder for them through illegal deductions from their salaries.
“The party shares the pains of our workers and condemns the APGA government’s exploitative tendencies in its entirety.
“We demand that the deducted money from the workers’ salaries be returned immediately.
“We assure Anambra people, especially civil servants, of better deal under a PDP-controlled administration,” Nwobu said.
In a reaction, Mr Jerry Nnubia, Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, said the deduction was a product of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached after a series of deliberations between labour and the bank.
Nnubia said part of the understanding was that the workers would become automatic shareholders in ratio to the amount they contributed.
According to him, the bank is our (workers’ bank), we agreed that it should not go under and had a lot of meetings before reaching the agreement.
“It is not a government policy, they came in because they are the paymaster and the circular was based on the MoU between us and the bank
Information about the bank on its website said NMFB was established in 1995 as a Community Bank by Anambra workers, through a N5 million loan provided by the state government.
Also, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba, reinforced the position of labour on the matter.
Adinuba said the deductions were mere implementation of the resolutions of workers, who are owners of the bank, through the Head of Service.
“It is like members of a trade union, who wished to recapitalise their enterprise and directed their employers to deduct a specific amount from their salaries for that purpose.
“So, government is not responsible for it,” the commissioner said.