JOS – The Chairman of the Plateau Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Jibrin Banchir, on Friday accused the state government of reneging on the payment of two months salaries of civil servants.
Banchir told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos that the workers were owed two months salaries. He said that the workers had also been denied promotion and some financial benefits in the past eight years. “We have lost our seniority and financial benefits compared to our counterparts in other states. “This has caused a lot of disaffection and loss of morale within the service,’’ he said.
Banchir decried the delay in the payment of monthly salaries contrary to an agreement with the government that salaries would be paid before the 25th of every month.
“This government has pledged to pay salaries before the 25th of every month, but today, what do we have, two months down the line, workers have not been paid. “Workers have been enslaved at their jobs non-stop without pay,” he said.
Banchir said that the situation had compelled workers to tow the line of “No Pay, No Work” as opposed to “No Work, No Pay” rule by the government. The Plateau State NLC chairman also called for the immediate release of primary school teachers’ salaries withheld since the past four months. He said that the financial strangulation of the working class had impacted negatively on the state’s economy. Reacting to the development, the State Head of Service (HOS), Mr Ezekiel Dalyop, said that government was aware of the plight of its workers. He blamed the late payment of salaries to the late release of federal allocation to the states.
Dalyop said that allocations came a month later and that government had been making it up by sourcing for fund to pay the workers on time.
According to him, the government has been borrowing to meet the immediate salary needs of its civil servants.
He said that the arrangement was affected by the current cash squeeze in the country leading to delayed payment of salaries.
Dalyop told NAN that the current wage burden of the workers had been reduced as they had received bank alerts on May 1, while they were celebrating.
He said it formed part of their demands only because they were ignorant of the alerts coming from their various banks at the time.
The HOS said that the issue of the primary school teachers’ salaries was beyond the state, noting it was a matter already under litigation.
He said that the issue alongside that of some other professional organisations was before the court for adjudication.
Dalyop also said that the government will take a second look on the biometrics exercise which they introduced to identify the state’s civil servants.
But Mr Samson Mafuyai, President, National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), told NAN that the biometrics had clocked one year in December 2013 and had yet to be concluded.
He said that the non-conclusion of the biometrics had left numerous workers at the Local Government to go without salaries for more than one year. (NAN)
Ajaokuta Steel Company signs MoU with private firm for reactivation of power plant (biz)
AJAOKUTA – Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd (ASCL), on Friday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private firm, 3D-High Tech Systems Ltd, for the reactivation of its 110MW thermal power plant.
Mr Joseph Onobere, the Sole Administrator of ASCL, who signed on behalf of the company, said the MoU was in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent inauguration of the National Industrial Revolution Plan.
Onobere said that the objective of the MoU was to generate energy for the steel plant and for sale to the national grid.
The sole administrator added that the company recently entered into similar arrangements for the Light Section Mill, the Wire Rod Mill and the Metallurgical Training Centre.
He commended ASCL staff for their “uncommon patriotism and loyalty in defending and protecting the steel plant’’ and solicited their cooperation for the success of the MoU.
The Managing Director of 3D-Hitech Systems Ltd, Mr Patrick Azi, who signed the MoU for the company, said 30 million U.S Dollars (N4.8 billion) would be invested in the power plant.
He said “we are in this business of acquiring property from government or going into partnership with government with a view to revamping them, make our money as investors and leave.
“We intend to sell our products to power Distribution Companies (Discos). We are entering into power purchase agreement with these companies.’’
He said the company planned to build 300MW plant to run side-by-side the plant in Ajaokuta.
Azi said that after the inauguration of the plant in 45 days to come, the company would go into other areas in the plant because of its huge opportunity.
“I see no reason why Nigerians should be buying pipes from other places in the world when we have one of the best facilities.
“Ajaokuta steel plant is the second largest in the world after Russia, so why can’t we bring it up?,’’ he asked. (NAN)