The chairman, National Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, Abia state, Comrade Chris Okoro has said that the state pays the highest amount of salary among the five South East states.
Okoro stated this Monday while reacting to the government’s payment of the N30, 000.00 minimal national wage for the month of January in his office in Umuahia, the state capital.
He said besides this, the government also has the largest labour force which stands at about 67,000, saying those in doubt of the payment should inquire from civil servants in the other states.
The unionist further explained that the government went beyond limiting the payment to Grade Level (GL) 01 step 1 as stipulated by the federal government to extend it to GL 06.
According to him, for those on from GL 07 and above, instead of adjusting their salaries by percentage, the government approved a flat increment of N10, 000.00 for them.
He expressed worry over the delay in payment of salaries to teachers especially those in secondary schools, pointing out however that the government is on top of the situation.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has shown serious commitment to getting this matter settled once for all. I therefore appeal to the teachers to exercise a little patience,” the chairman related.
About staff of the state parastatals, who are suffering the same issue, he argued that they are not core civil servants and as such draw their salaries from the account of the parastatals.
“Parastatal are run on subvention from government and their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). So when there is such challenge, it could be because a party is yet to play its part,” he said.
Reacting to the payment, a civil servant in one of the ministries, who pleaded anonymity, expressed appreciation to the government for complying with the directive by the federal government.
Looking at it from a different perspective, an elderly trader at Ubani Ibeku Modern Market, Umuahia, said he was yet to see the impact of the payment in terms of volume of transactions made.
“I thought there was going to be a boom in transactions after the payment as it happened in the 70s during the Udoji era. Intead the civil servants are going about as if nothing happened,” he noted.