Gov Otu Announces N40,000 Minimum Wage For C-River Workers

Cross River workers and Pensioners during the May Day celebration at the U. J. Esuene Stadium

BY UBON EKANEM, CALABAR – In keeping with his ‘People’s First’ mantra amid the biting economic hardship, Governor Bassey Edet Otu has put smiles on the faces of workers in the Cross River State civil service as N40,000 shall henceforth be the minimum monthly salary for the lowest paid personnel.

Governor Otu, who announced the new minimum wage cheering news during this year’s International Workers Day celebration at the U. J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, the State capital on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, assured the workers that payment of monthly salary would continue to attract a first-line charge.

“I wish to announce that the least paid worker in the Cross River State Civil Service will henceforth earn the sum of N40,000.00 (Forty Thousand Naira) only; as a living wage”, the Governor told the excited workers, adding that; “modalities for immediate implementation is being worked out”.

Governor Otu, who also pledged his administration’s readiness to implement the outstanding promotion arrears inherited on assumption of office on May 29, 2023, said the government will not relent in celebrating the workers by being proactive in attending to issues that affect them for the needed motivation and increased productivity.

Accordingly, he further urged for understanding and cooperation by the Labour Movement in the task of creating wealth for the people, stressing that the State government is determined and committed to the promotion of workers’ welfare which should however not be to the detriment of the overall interest of the larger society.

He said that given the huge sacrifice by workers to implement the programmes and policies of the government, prompt payment of salaries and pensions will remain a priority in every month’s expenditure, adding that the State is presently on the verge of concluding arrangements for the staggered payment of outstanding gratuity to its retired workers.

However, while charging pensioners to exercise patience with the government, Governor Otu said; “Owing to the peculiarity of our state regarding its lean finances occasioned by low Statutory Federal Allocation and aggravated by the unfavourable state GDP to Debt servicing ratio, the new wage implementation shall be in line with the realities of the time, rather than sentiments.”

Prince Otu therefore charged all workers in the State employ to reciprocate the kind gestures by doubling their efforts in performing assigned responsibilities, even as he pledged the administration’s resolve to tackle unemployment headlong to create jobs for the teeming youth population across the State.

He explained as part of measures to address the challenge of unemployment, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) has been directed to determine areas of urgent need in the service so that the administration can open the necessary employment portal to receive applications from qualified candidates.

Speaking at the occasion, the State Chapter Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Monday Okpodum drew government attention to areas of urgent attention as it concerns workers’ welfare, insisting that a time has come when payment of gratuity to retired workers should no longer be seen as a privilege instead of their right.

Comrade Okpodum, while appreciating the government’s efforts at improved welfare for workers, said the nightmares retirees are facing due to non-payment of gratuity have become a source of concern and the administration should expedite action in this regard.

Also speaking through its State Chapter Chairman, Comrade Gregory Ulayi, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) expressed delight in the spirited efforts of the state government in restoring hope in workers as demonstrated by the prompt attention paid to their welfare.

He however appealed that concerted efforts be made as regards promotion and yearly salary scale incremental implementation for workers in the state government’s employ as part of the incentives and morale booster for increased productivity and effective service delivery.

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