Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has disclosed that the state government would set up a committee to monitor the effective use of the bail out funds by the Local Government for the payment of salary arrears to workers.
Governor Okowa who disclosed this on 5-11-2015, when he received Chairmen and members of Organised Labour led by the State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade David Ofoeyeno on a solidarity visit in Asaba stated that the bail out funds for local government would be released to them at Joint Account Committee meeting next week warning that a committee to monitor the strict usage of the funds for the payment of salary arrears would be set up.
According to him ‘’From the bailout funds we have been able to clear some outstanding debts and we hope that by the time we sit at the Joint Account Committee Meeting next week we will also be able to release some funds to the
Local Government Councils to address part of the salary arrears and 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 going to be 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.
While commending the Organised Labour for their support and solidarity, Dr. Okowa promised to always partner with Labour on issues affecting workers in the state adding ‘’ 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.’’
The governor disclosed that a committee to work out modalities on the payment of some of the pension arrears owed pensioners would soon be set up stressing 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 and pay part because we cannot 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 reiterated.
He called for cooperation and support from workers and the organised labour on the issue of ghost and absentee workers in the state stating ‘’ l want to appeal to the union to talk to its members to cooperate with government to fish out these ghost and absentee workers so that salary payment can be maintained. It is in the interest of both labour and the state government that this state is properly run.’’
Senator 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, Comrade Ofoyeno who led the organised labour team on the visit said that they were in Government House to declare their support for the governor and to show that they are solidly behind him in his efforts to transform Delta State.
He commended Governor Okowa for being a grass roots politician, listening governor that has respect for organised labour.
The Delta chapter of the NLC had earlier held a thanksgiving service to celebrate the legal victory of Governor at the Delta election petitions tribunal, which had affirmed his victory at the April 11, 2015 Governorship elections in the state.