A labourer is worthy of his wages. Every diligent worker looks forward to getting his salary at the end of the month. The receipt of salary is a proof of profitable labour.
Governor Udom Emmanuel during his campaign for the 2015 Gubernatorial election had promised to make the welfare of workers in Akwa Ibom State a priority if elected into office. Being a man of his words, the governor has fulfilled his promise ever since he got into office.
One of his first actions as Executive Governor was to approve the payment of 10 years backlog of pensions and gratuities owed to retired civil servants. The retirees were overjoyed to receive alerts of payment of their 2000 – 2011 arrears. This was a very commendable gesture of goodwill by the governor. The debts were not incurred by his administration but he knows that government is a continuum and being the governor, he has to accommodate everyone.
Governor Udom Emmanuel has not relented in keeping to his promise of ensuring the welfare of workers. Under the current administration, salaries and gratuities are being paid as at when due. Workers have never had it so good. Salaries are paid before the end of the month. In December 2017, salaries were paid on the 20th day of the month. This and other gestures have endeared the government to the workforce as workers are now certain of their monthly payments and can plan their finances with more certainty.
It is instructive to note that the governor came into office during a period of economic recession. A period where revenue and allocation from the federation account had drastically dwindled. It is to the credit and ingenuity of Governor Udom that the huge wage bill of the state was not disrupted and that workers were not owed salaries.
In a period where many states in the country were and are still owing workers backlogs of monthly salaries, Akwa Ibom state workers receive their salaries promptly. The governor made the decision not to request for and collect bailout funds from the federal government because he understands the financial implications of sinking the state into indebtedness. Today Akwa Ibom State is one of the few states in Nigeria free from indebtedness to the federal government.
Akwa Ibom State being a predominantly civil service state is in no shortage of retired government workers as people retire from the civil service daily. These retirees are entitled to their gratuities. Given this fact, and the prevalent economic circumstance, the governor has approved the payment of gratuities in batches. Payment is being done and every one entitled to gratuity would get it.
Civil servants who were recruited into the civil service during the last round of recruitments in late 2014/early 2015 were still expecting their salaries late into 2015. It was governor Udom that ordered for the enlistment of their names into the integrated payroll of the government for the payments of salaries beginning from January 2016. The workers had a breather as they started getting alerts of their monthly salaries.
The governor also approved the payment of their 2015 salary arrears. The payment process is ongoing and is being done in batches.
It is certain that before the year 2018 runs out, every single worker affected would be paid.
As a way of ameliorating the plights of local government workers, the state government regularly intervenes by releasing funds to pay pensions and gratuities to local government employees despite the fact that payment of salaries and gratuities of such workers is sorely the responsibility of local government councils. This has earned commendations from the National union of local government employees (NULGE)
Leave grants are being paid as at when due to workers.
Governor Udom Emmanuel seeks no praise for prompt payment of salaries as he believes it is a fundamental responsibility of the government to pay salaries and other entitlements to workers. He understands that only a motivated workforce would run the machinery, programs and policies of the government effectively.
Governor Udom Emmanuel has proven to be a worker’s friendly governor. The ball is now in the court of the workers to reciprocate the gesture of the governor by joining hands with him to move the state to higher heights.