Civil servants in Ebonyi State, on Friday expressed mixed feeling over the payment of N30,000 minimum wage to them by the state government.
The governor, Chief David Umahi had last year December, 2019, during an EXCO meeting promised that workers in Ebonyi State will start receiving the new minimum wage, effective from January 1st, 2020.
He had equally directed the State Accountant General and the 13 Chairmen of LGAs to seek for overdraft and ensure the payment of the said minimum wage to workers in local government areas effective from January 10 to enable them start the new year with ease.
But some civil servants, who spoke in Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi state, lamented that the said payment was just a little adjustment in salary of workers and not minimum wage.
According to one of them “They said it is a minimum wage but it is not. It is just a little increment.
“We are not happy with the amount. If they had told us that it was an increment, it would have been better. Indeed, they said it is minimum wage but it is a disappointment on the workers.”
Another civil servant, who also spoke, said “I am in level 8, what they added to my salary is only N1000. I am not happy with the situation.”
Another civil servant, who is a teacher said: “I can tell you, the whole money added to the salaries of civil servants in the state may not be up to N2 million. Why should they say that they are paying minimum wage, when it is obvious that they are not, but an increment?” He stressed.
Meanwhile, the governor of the Ebonyi state, Chief David Umahi, according to investigation, is the first governor to pay minimum wage in the south east geopolitical zone.
The state government while briefing journalists on Friday through the State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr Orji Uchenna Orji said that the payment of the Minimum Wage was in consonance with the agreement reached by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the State government.
According to him, the payment of the Minimum Wage to workers was in line with the Governor’s promise of improving the welfare and standard of living of workers at all levels.
The Commissioner further noted that apart from the payment of the National Minimum Wage, which commenced today (yesterday), all public office holders have so far received their salaries.
“I wish to use this medium to inform the general public of the payment of Minimum wage by the State government. The government has again kept it’s promise of paying minimum wage in the country. Ebonyi is the first to pay minimum wage in the Southeast geopolitical zone.
“The governor has not renege in his responsibility. The government negotiated with NLC and consensus was reached. He has paid the 13 LGA and State workers. In addition to the 13 month, he paid the minimum wage. He has the welfare of workers at heart. It will spur them to work better. He is taking the lead.” He said.
Orji also added that the State government had begun the enumeration of all unemployed Ebonyi citizens in order to make them self reliant.