By Aherhoke Okioma
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has urged local government workers to be patient as the government is taking practical steps to ensure they benefit from the N30,000 new minimum wage.
Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo stated this at the weekend while addressing a delegation of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Bayelsa State chapter led by its President, Comrade Akpos Ekiegha, during a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, Mr. Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor reaffirmed the present administration’s commitment to workers welfare, noting that the process to implement the minimum wage for councils was underway.
According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, a committee has already been set up for the purpose, assuring that the government is also working towards implementing workers’ promotion at all levels to foster motivation, career growth and progression.
His words: “The minimum wage committee will work on the report which will be reviewed before implementation. “We are also looking into the issue of implementing the promotions.
We will harmonise the promotions for both health workers and local government employees”.
On the issue of identity cards raised by NULGE, the Deputy Governor said it is the duty of every organisation to provide ID cards for its workers, and therefore urged the various councils and Rural Development Areas (RDAs) to shoulder the responsibility.
He said: “Identity cards are the responsibility of the government not the unions.
It will be well captured and centrally signed by an appropriate government official just as we did for the state workers where the Secretary to the State Government signed for every worker.”
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, however, maintained his warning to local government leadership not to see the councils as mere cash points for payment of salaries but rather as a viable vehicle of transformation and development.
He noted that activities of the local government areas have a ripple effect on the state and federal governments, and therefore urged the various councils to be up and doing to deliver the dividends of democracy at the grassroots level.
Earlier, President of NULGE, Comrade Akpos Ekiegha commended the government for putting the needs of workers at the forefront, despite the slowdown in the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic and fall in the price of crude oil.
Comrade Ekiegha, who also acknowledged the present administration’s effort at improving service delivery in the local government system, however, appealed to the government to implement workers promotion and other entitlements.