Bight Newspaper reports that the Government of Bayelsa State has approved the payment of wage awards to civil servants in its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as part of measures to cushion the effects of the excruciating economic realities.

The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, disclosed this on Friday when the leadership of the South-South Zone of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by its Chairman, Comrade Bolum Martin and Vice Chairman, Comrade Julius Laye, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

A statement by the media aide to the Deputy Governor, Mr Doubara Atasi, explained that the wage award which was approved by Governor Douye Diri is in line with the Federal Government’s appeal to the states to utilize funds from oil subsidy removal to ameliorate the economic hardship facing workers.

According to the statement, Senator Ewhrudjakpo had directed the Head of the State Civil Service, Mrs Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, to work out modalities for the payment of the N35,000 wage awards to all civil servants on the state government payroll.

Describing the civil service as the engine room for the implementation of government’s programmes and policies, the Deputy Governor assured that the present administration in Bayelsa would continue to take the welfare of civil servants seriously.

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He assured the TUC of government’s support and encouragement where necessary to meet their goals and promote a healthy industrial relations in the state, South South region and the country at large.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, however, urged the two major labour centres in the country, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to always work together in the interest of workers and the entire citizenry of the country.

His words: “The effectiveness of any government is the civil service. And so, anybody who disorganizes, disregards, undermines and fails to recognize the civil service, that person is only doing so to promote his or her own intention to fail in government or governance.

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“Civil servants are the people that implement the programmes and policies of government. In fact, they run with the vision of government. That is why we take our civil service very seriously here.

“And our civil servants are also very supportive. They have always supported us as a government. So, we don’t joke with matters affecting them. As we speak, we are not owing our workers.

“Like the wage award you mentioned, I want you to know that the Governor has already approved the wage awards for civil servants in the state. Soon after this meeting, the Head of Service will get the approval and start working on it.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of TUC, South South zone, Comrade Bolum Martin, acknowledged the labour friendly disposition of the Governor Diri-led administration, noting that Bayelsa is among the few states that had extended the payment of the 30 percent minimum wage to local government workers.

Comrade Martin, who is also the TUC State Chairman of Delta State, also lauded the state government for taking the lead on paying call duty allowance to health personnel, wage awards to local government workers and for creating a conducive work environment.

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He informed that the TUC chairmen and secretaries of the South South states were in Bayelsa for their zonal meeting ahead of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting next month.

Present at the courtesy call were the Secretary to State Government, Prof Nimibofa Ayawei; the Head of Service, Barrister (Mrs) Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama; the Chief of Staff, Government House, Dr Peter Akpe, and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Hon Irorodamie Komonibo

Others are the Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Governor’s Office, Comrade Gowon Toruyouyei; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Mr. Hitler Dickson, and the Head of Exco, Deputy Governor’s Office, Mrs Mercy Alafuro.

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