Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that his administration has disbursed over N1.8 billion as car and housing loans to civil servants, local government staff and teachers in the last four years as appreciation for their commitment and as a demonstration of government’s committment to their welfare.
The Governor also revealed that his administration, within the period has paid a total sum of N2.9 billion as gratuity to retired civil servants and local government staff.
Speaking on Sunday during this year’s May Day Rally held at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado Ekiti, the State capital, the Governor assured that his administration is working out modalities for the payment of one month salary arrears ( owed by previous government) this month to commemorate the workers’ Day.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the Governor further assured that total clearance of the remaining arrears is being looked into having given approval for the cash implementation of the promotions of 2017 and 2018.
Dr. Fayemi said government has a duty to do more for workers admitting that inflation has eaten deep into the gains made by his first and second administrations in the last decade in which workers enjoyed wage increase not less than three times.
Recalling the suffering inflicted on workers by the immediate past administration, Dr. Fayemi said: “that is why we we cannot afford to go back to the dark era of non-payment of salaries, allowances and pensions. We are already out of the dark tunnel and we should resist every trick to take us backward as a state.”
Speaking on the June 18 governorship election, the Governor urged workers to “consider where we are coming from, where we are now and where we are going as a people and as a state” urging them to join hands with his administration to build on the successes recorded on laudable programmes and policies.
Dr. Fayemi added: “In whatever we do, we should place the best interest of Ekiti State far and above other considerations. Things can only, and should only get better. Therefore, let us jointly make the right choice, not only for ourselves but for our future generations.”
The Governor disclosed that N309 million, N339.2 million, were disbursed as housing loans to civil servants, local government staff respectively while N571.3 million and N41.3 million were disbursed as car and housing loans to civil servants and local government staff respectively making a total of N1.2 billion.
On what teachers benefited from the loan scheme, the Governor explained that while N287.3 million was disbursed as car loans to teachers, N299.8 million was disbursed to teachers as housing loans making a total of N587.1 million.
Giving a breakdown of gratuity paid since 2018, Dr. Fayemi revealed that over N2 billion has been disbursed to workers who retired from the civil service while N843.1 million was disbursed to retirees from the local government service totalling N2.9 billion paid as gratuity
He said further: “We did all these because we deliberately placed the welfare and wellbeing of our workforce, the engine that drives our 5-pillar agenda, in the front burner despite our limited resources.
“You will recall that at the inception of this administration, most offices were congested and not conducive for work. As a responsible and responsive government that values workers’ welfare, we swing into action immediately by embarking on renovation of buildings and completion of the abandoned secretariat buildings.
“We have also provided office furniture and equipment across the MDAs. The state government also extended water supply to the State Secretariat.
“As a gender-sensitive government, we put in place a Public Service that is fit for the 21st Century,safe and gender-friendly for male and female workers to utilize their potentials for effective service delivery. I approved the first female Head of Service and the administration approved paternity leave for male officers and six months of.maternity leave for nursing mothers in Public Service.”
He also praised the leaders of workers unions in the state “for their relentless engagements with the state government for the welfare of the workforce which demonstrates their resolve to advance the cause of workers at this challenging period.”
The state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Kolapo Olatunde, advocated the extension of minimum wage to workers on Grade Level 13 and above and payment of gratuity to workers who had retired since 2013.
Olatunde said workers are praying for a successful governorship election to produce a labour-friendly and focused leader that will benefit workers and pensioners.
The state Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Sola Adigun, urged the state government to work out a bailout package for subvented institutions to get them out of their present economic predicament.
Adigun also clamoured for gradual increment of subventions to such institutions in order to sustain their existence.
The TUC boss appealed to political gladiators to play the game with utmost sense of decorum “just as we know that irrespective of party affiliation, the winner of the election will definitely come from Ekiti, no position is worth shedding of blood of anyone.”