The outbreak of Coronavirus will not hamper the payment of the new minimum wage in Akwa Ibom State said the governor of Akwa Ibom on Wednesday.
Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel gave this assurance in Uyo while addressing participants at a workshop on the implications of the implementation of the New National Minimum Wage in Akwa Ibom State, organized by the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria ( TUC), Akwa Ibom State Council.
Governor Udom who acknowledged that though the financial implications of the new wage and the various welfare packages on the state finances were huge, the Government was committed to sustaining them for improved workers’ welfare and human capacity development which is integral in his Completion Agenda.
Represented by the Head of Civil Service, Effiong Essien, he thanked the leadership of the Trade Union Congress for organizing the workshop to discuss the impact of the new minimum wage payment on the state’s fiscal policy, describing it as timely and relevant.
He commended the organized labour for their matured approach to industrial issues, understanding, and cooperation. He hoped for continued partnership and support.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State Council, Dominic Abang said, the workshop was a demonstration of the Union’s commitment, patriotic zeal and sustained partnership with Government.
He said the workshop was expected to come up with workable alternative solutions to financing the additional costs of an increase in the state wage bill.
Abang thanked the state Governor, for his labor-friendly disposition and a hitch-free implementation of the new minimum wage in the state when other states are still working out modalities.
Abang thanked the Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien, for his supportive role and assured of the Union’s continued support and dedication for sustained industrial harmony and increased productivity.
The keynote Speaker, Akpan H. Ekpo, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy, and Chairman, Foundation for Economic Research and Training, in his paper, gave kudos to the state government for paying the new Minimum Wage to workers. He noted that increased wage provides the workers financial leverage to engage in small scale investments and production.
Ekpo discouraged total dependent on oil revenue by the federating states and nation. He advocated a non-oil fiscal policy and called for industrialization, investment in agriculture and solid mineral exploration for a sustainable economy.
The Head of Civil Service also extended the appreciation of all the workers to the state Governor for giving workers’ welfare top priority and for paying the new minimum wage. He assured him of the workers” continued support.
Others who presented goodwill messages where the Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, P Victor Inoka, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and TUC, national.
A high point of the event was the conferment of Award of Excellence on the State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, for his labor-friendly disposition and people-oriented policies.