By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
As workers in Edo State joined their counterparts worldwide to cebrate this years ‘Workers’ Day, the State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has rolled out bumper package for workers, job seekers and pensioners in the state which includes recruitment of new hands, approval of outstanding promotions and provision of social housing for workers in the state.
The governor also said outstanding issues with pension arrears payment are being addressed as he has approved the release of N1.5bn from the Paris Fund Refund to liquidate the outstanding local government pension arrears.
Speaking to workers on the commemoration of the 2018 Workers’ Day at the University of Benin Sports Complex, Ugbowo, Benin City, the governor said the workers have been supportive and instrumental to the successes being recorded in the state.
Noting that capacity building forms a huge part of the reforms in the civil service, he said, “An Edo State Civil Service Training Institute for civil servants will be unveiled before the end of the year. The facility is ready with relevant technology and experts are now putting together courses, training modules and the faculty. This is to empower our workers and make them relevant to our developmental goals. All Edo workers will henceforth have the opportunity to attend one or two trainings annually. This will strengthen our civil service and empower our workers to do much better.”
On social housing for workers, he said the state was working with partners to develop a package to provide housing to workers in the state, adding, “In delivering Housing to workers, plans are on between the Federal Mortgage Bank, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Edo State Government to provide Housing for Edo State workers. The repositioned Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) is also working on social housing for Edo workers by private investors.
According to him, “The process of computerising all government offices is on-going. The first set of 1000 computers have been procured and distributed. Another set of 1000 computers are on order. Workers are being trained by the ICT Agency. The overall goal is to maintain document security, reduce waste, improve efficiency and enhance service delivery. I am pleased to note that our workers are responding appropriately to this initiative.”
He added that the state government has not sacked any worker, but rather provisions are being made to employ more hands.
“This government is proud that it has not sacked any worker even those that were moribund in their functions. Rather, we have done so much to reabsorb, retrain and reassign these workers. About 186 staff of the moribund Edo Line and Edo Courier have been redeployed to the Ministry of Infrastructure while we are working out ways of liquidating its debt of about N1.5bn. In a few weeks, the Civil Service Commission will advertise to recruit more civil servants to fill critical vacancies in the system,” he said.
The governor stressed that efforts are being made to ensure workers get the best support to work and deliver on their tasks, noting that a revamp of the offices and government buildings would make the work environment more appealing.
According to him, “In line with our policy of making the workplace comfortable, our Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that will supply uninterrupted power to all Government Establishments along the Sapele Road axis as well as light up our streets at night will come into operation in October this year. We also continue to renovate offices, provide new equipment, and working on providing new office spaces.
“Apart from promotions coming into effect as at when due; we have commenced rectification of pending promotions which so far have been updated to the year 2017. In a short while from now, all pending cases of promotions would be harmonised and resolved. Every worker that deserves to be promoted will get the promotion.
“We have introduced a new Reward System to motivate our workers. Those that work hard need to be further encouraged. Our goal is to encourage our workers to reach the highest points of their creative and productive abilities. Hence, our new system makes it possible for a worker to gain accelerated promotion for outstanding performance; without recourse to established sequence or last date of promotion.”