Ebonyi State government has suspended its Contributory Pension Law and ordered the refund of every amount deducted from workers’ salary as a result of its implementation. Governor David Umahi announced this during Workers’ Day celebration at Abakaliki Township Stadium.
The controversial Contributory Pension Law introduced few months ago has being a source of disagreement between the workers and the state government. The workers under the aegis of Nigeria LabourCongress,NLC had kicked against some provisions of the Law especially five percent employer contribution and eight percent worker’s contribution which they claimed were not in line with the Pension Reform Act. Chief Umahi explained that the suspension of the law was to amend it by putting into consideration all the issues raised by the workers.
Chief Umahi released One billion Naira for the payment of gratuities and assured workers that the state government would commence the payment of over two billion Naira accumulated Leave allowance from next month. The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Leonard Nkah called on the state government to release the Leave allowance and consider the payment of special allowance to certain categories of workers.
Some of the workers described the pronouncements of the state government specially the suspension of the Pension Law as being in line with their aspirations. Still on Workers day celebration , Governor OkezieIkpeazu of Abia State has called for support from revenue generating agencies in the area to guarantee regular payment of workers’ salaries and the clearing of arrears of pensions owed retirees. Governor Ikpeazu made the call in Umuahia, said the time for change had come as the state government would no longer tolerate poor accountability in some revenue generating agencies as efforts were being made to boost the Internally Generated Revenue to cope with the challenges of governance.
The Governor sympathized with Nigerian workers on issues confronting them and pledged to prioritize the welfare of workers in the state. In a speech, the State Chairman of NLC, Comrade UchennaObigwe called for regular payment of salaries and pension as well as several months of arrears of workers’ emoluments, noting that the situation had become very worrisome.
Comrade Obigwe urged the government to set aside the sum of one hundred and fifty million naira monthly for payment of gratuity and regretted that retirees in the state had not been paid gratuities in the last sixteen year. Also speaking, the State Chairman, Trade Union Congress,TUC, Comrade Chris Obigwe stressed the need for immediate implementation of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers in view of the economic situation in the country.
Some workers who spoke in an interview appealed to the state government to show more commitment to the welfare of workers in the area.
Meanwhile the Organized Labour in Imo State has appealed to Governor RochasOkorocha to commence the payment of full salaries of workers and pensions to retirees in the state to reduce their sufferings. The State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Austin Chilakpu made the appeal in a joint address with his TUC Counterpart, Comrade Paul Akalazu to mark the Workers Day Celebration in Owerri.
The rally recorded low turnout of workers as the venue was visibly scanty. Highpoints of the event were match past by workers and presentation of awards to some Nigerians by organized labour in some states.