Civil servants in Akwa Ibom State are in for a better deal as the state government rolls out plans for an affordable housing scheme under a Public Private Partnership. for the workers to own their houses.
The State Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel announced this during the Workers Day Celebration held at Uyo Township Stadium.
Governor Emmanuel who described workers as patners in the development of the state, said that the massive turn out in the event was a demonstration of partnership and unity of purpose saying “there are states which cannot have this level of celebration but ours is a symbol of unity, partnership and patrotism”.
He explained that land for the building of the Estate has been acquired and that the project would reverse the trend where workers use their gratuities to build their own houses instead of investing their entitlement in other lucrative ventures to sustain their lives.
“I am going to work with the Head of Civil Service and the two Labour Leaders to start a very affordable Housing Scheme for our workers. We have acquired the land and would use the Public Private Partnership to deliver this to our workers ” Governor Emmanuel stated.
The Governor announced plans to upgrade secondary health institutions across the state starting with General hospital at Etinan Local Government Area, which be commissioned by the end of the. month during the second anniversary of the administration to allow the Teaching and Specialist Hospitals carry out referal services.
He said : “join me in May this year to re commission a new improved Medical facility that we have in Etinan General Hospital to provide services that would be much cheaper ”
According to him, the diversification agenda of his administration would generate employment when the Refinery Project, Syringe Manufacturing Company, 60 thousand capacity Flour Mill, Metering And Meter Box Company come on stream.
Reacting to the Ibom International Airport staff who were posted to Ministries after acquiring skills in Airport operations, the Governor explained that his administration is sourcing for investors who, in partnership, with the Federal government would make the Maintanance Repairs and Overhaul Unit (MRO) of the Airport functional for the staff to be effectively engaged.
Governor Emmanuel said that the three thousand teachers to be recruited for the primary institutions would have to undergo a qualifying test to ensure standard in the school system. .
According to him : “those who went for the examination will tell you that non of them went there with note from anybody. Every Akwa Ibom citizen is given opportunity to pick the job by themselves. Let people be assured that it is purely on merit not by mercy.. Qualified people will be employed based on cut-off point ”
The Head of Civil Service Mrs Ekerebong Akpan, in a goodwill message, thanked the Governor for his labour – friendly disposition manifested in the regular and prompt disbursement of their pecuniary benefits the economic recession notwithstanding.
She noted that the Governor, on assumption of duty in 2015, had directed the payment of backlog of gratuities owed Local Government retirees from 2001 to 2011 and that the payment of staff employed by previous administration in 2014 has commenced.
Mrs Akpan therefore commended the Labour movement for industrial harmony witnessed in the state calling on all to restrategise to build a nation where sincere brotherhood and tolerance reign and congratulated the Labour leaders for a successful celebration.
In a similar message, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly Hon Onofiok Luke, pledged the support of the sixth Assembly through sound and worker friendly legislations to sustain the existing cordiality between Union and the state administration.
The Acting Chief Judge His Lordship Justice Godwin Abraham,thanked the state administration for prompt payment of salaries and urged the workers to reciprocate government benevolence by being dedicated to their assigned duties.
Also, the Secretary to the State Government Sir Etekamba Umoren described workers as the engine room of government assuring that government would continue to give priority to welfare of workers and congratulated the Labour Union for the celebration.
The Chairperson Trade Union Congress Comrade Akamba Awah and the Chairperson Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade Etim Ukpong, in their messages, called for enlistment of workers in the current fight against corruption sugesting that culprit should be made to face the full weight of the law.
They urged the National Assembly to rise in support of the implementation of the new minimum wage for workers by ensuring that negotiation for wages remain in the Exclusive list and not on concurrent list as currently canvassed by some state Executives.
The Labour Union commended the magnanimity of the state administration to workers and sued for sustenance of the gesture.
The event which featured launching of the Labour Digest by Governor Udom Emmanuel and march past by members of organised Labour Unions, had the Nigeria Union of Teachers emerged first position followed by National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives while Medical And Health Workers Union of Nigeria, took the third position.