As workers across the world celebrate the International Workers’ Day, Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has urged Nigerians, especially those in the public and private sector to remain committed, work together to protect and advance the socio-economic interest of the State.
Governor Wike in an address presented at the 2023 Workers Day Celebration held at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt, commended all workers in the state for their resilience, sacrifices and input towards building a better and prosperous Rivers State for the better future of generations.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Wenike Danagogo, said the theme of the 2023 Labour Day, ‘Workers Right and Socio Economic Justice’, reflects the socio-economic plight of workers and ordinary citizens in Nigeria’s mismanaged economy.
“We believe the private sector is the engine room of economic growth and enabler of prosperity. As a government, our role is to capitalise the private sector to create good job and employ our citizen. Accordingly, we have improved the ease of doing business, primarily tackled insecurity and created an enabling fiscal regime for businesses to thrive in the State.
“We recently directed the Civil Service Commission to initiate the employment process of ten thousand workers into the State Civil Service as part of our measures to reduce unemployment in the State. This is in addition to the approval we gave to heads of State Tertiary Institution to fill all existing job vacancies in the state.
“The State Civil Service Commission has recently concluded the workers promotion exercise. We have approved the promotion of over 4,000 eligible civil servants to their appropriate levels and directed the Commission to issue the beneficiaries with their promotion letters immediately,” he stressed.
The Governor also revealed that government has resolved the initial challenges to pay gratuities and death benefits to retirees and statutory beneficiaries.
“Statutory and death benefits have since resumed with the monthly disbursement of the sum of N1bn to beneficiaries. I assure you that we will clear the state of all its burden as soon as possible and requested workers’ unions patience and understanding”, he said.
He promised that the promotion of other categories of civil servants including teachers will soon commence as soon as the Governing Board to carry out the exercise is constituted and assured that the entire promotion exercise will be concluded before the end of his tenure.
The Governor reiterated that critical priority areas such as roads, bridges, flyover, education, healthcare, justice delivery, urban renewal, security, rural development were some veritable sectors vastly imparted.
“We are proud of the foundation we have laid, the services and contribution to our states’ progress and citizen welfare. Since government is continuum, we believe our successor will consolidate these achievements and prioritise other critical development areas”, he said.
The Governor further thanked the Labour Union for voting the PDP back into power in the State during the 2023 General Elections.
“Fortunately, the Governor-Elect was a civil servant and belongs to your constituency. I assure you, he will do well and make your constituency proud. All that is needed is your cooperation, prayers and support. State building is a continuous process. I employ you to work with the new patriotic hand to build our dream Rivers State where no one is left behind and the workers enjoy their socio-economic rights,” he affirmed.
Earlier, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Alex Ikechi Agwanwor, appreciated the Governor for the approval for the implementation of the accumulated promotions.
He appealed with the Governor to domesticate the federal government approved new retirement age of teachers to 65 years and 40 years length of service through the harmonized retirement age for teachers in Nigeria Act, 2022, earlier passed by both chambers of the National Assembly and signed into law by the president.
Also speaking, the State Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Ikechukwu Foster Onyefuru, appreciated the Governor for his intervention to curb crude oil theft, pipeline vandalization and soot.
“Your actions triggered stakeholders’ interest and crude oil production improved from below 1m barrels per day to about 1.4m barrels per day,” he said.
He called on the Governor to review workers salary upwards due to rising inflation and increasing high cost of goods and services.