Asaba – Delta Government is to set up a committee to ensure effective use of bailout funds for the payment of salary arrears to workers by local government councils.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa announced this when he received Chairmen and members of organised labour in Asaba on Thursday.
Okowa said the bailout funds for local government would be released to them at the Joint Account Committee (JAC), meeting next week.
He said the committee would monitor the strict usage of the funds for the payment of the salary arrears.
“From the bailout funds, we have been able to clear some outstanding debts.
“We hope that by the time we sit at the JAC meeting next week, we will also be able to release some funds to the councils to address part of the salary arrears.
“We will also be setting up committees to monitor the fund that will be released principally for the payment of salaries and to make sure that not a kobo is diverted outside salaries.
“Obviously, it may not be able to take care of all the backlogs but it will bring a cushioning effect now that we are very close to the Christmas season”, he said.
He commended the organised labour for their support and solidarity and promised to always partner with them on issues affecting workers.
“We will always keep you informed of our challenges and expectations as you are a stakeholder who will take this message to the grass roots.
“We will partner with you always, hoping that this partnership will lead the state forward as you constitute a major stakeholder in the state’’, Okowa said.
The governor also disclosed that a committee to work out modalities on the payment of some of the pension arrears would soon be set up.
He added that the state government would ensure equity and fairness in the payment of the arrears.
“Within what we have received from the bailout funds, we will hopefully release part of the fund for the pension and we want to find out those who are on the pension list.
“Even if we will not be able to pay the complete amount owed but let it be that we have been able to advance some money while we continue to find sources to pay pensioners on a monthly basis”, he said.
The governor called for cooperation and support from workers and the organised labour on the issue of ghost and absentee workers in the state.
“l appeal to the union to talk to its members to cooperate with government to fish out ghost workers”, he said.
Okowa, who thanked them for the visit and the victory thanksgiving service organised for him, appealed to his opponents and all Deltans to join hands with him to move the state forward.
Earlier, Ofoeyeno said they were in Government House to declare their support for the governor and to show that they were solidly behind him in his efforts to transform Delta.
He commended Okowa for being a grass roots politician and a listening governor who has respect for organised labour.
The delegation was led by the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, David Ofoeyeno. (NAN)