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WORKERS PROTEST UNNECESSARY – EKITI GOVT.

By Lere Olayinka
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Ekiti State Government has described the workers protest of Tuesday as
unnecessary, saying; “it is on record that the Engr. Segun Oni-led
government has always been committed to the socio-economic development
of the State, particularly workers' welfare.

The State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Rt. Hon.
Taiwo Olatunbosun said in a statement made available to journalists in
Ado-Ekiti today, that the Government enhanced the Loan Scheme of the
Public Sector out of its desire to give the workers the opportunity of
owning cars and houses to protect their future within Public Service
Regulations.

He disclosed that in the last two years, the Government committed a
sum of N3.345 billion, which is equivalent to nearly Two Months income
for the state to loans (Car and Housing) granted workers in the Public
Service.

Olatunbosun said Government decided on the Buy-Back of the entire
N3.345 billion loan to enable it return to the regime of paying
salaries, as at when due (20th – 25th), adding that; “The proposal was
included in the 2010 Budget which was subsequently passed accordingly
by the State House of Assembly with the N3.345 billion Buy-Back as
part of income for the year.”
“To put the records straight, government had decided, through the
appropriation law of 2010, to withdraw from the funding of the staff
loan scheme, because its financial resources can no longer support the
scheme that currently costs the State Government over N660 million
annually in interests. Even though, the people of Ekiti State bear
this cost, it constitutes subsidy to a few (less than 50 percent of
the public service) public servants in the Civil Service and Teaching
Service Commission (the primary school teachers are excluded
completely).

“Furthermore, the Consolidated Loan portfolio of the workers of about
N3.345 Billion constitutes more than 60 percent of the current total
borrowings of Ekiti Government of N5.531 Billion.

“The situation is further made worrisome because a lot of civil
servants took loans beyond the statutory ceiling as prescribed in the
Financial Regulations. For instance, there are workers whose take-home
has been reduced to a paltry N500 – N1, 000 per month. There are even
a few instances of negative take-home.

“In view the above, government has decided to pay immediately the
outstanding salaries of certain categories of workers. They include
those not indebted to the State under any of the three Loan (Land,
Housing & Car) schemes. The borrowing workers who complied fully with
relevant rules and regulations would be paid after government would
have determined the level of subsidy in the light of current economic
realities. Also, workers who flouted the rules and regulations
relating to the worker's loan scheme will be migrated to a commercial
loan payment scheme.

Speaking further, Olatunbosun said; “The position being adopted by
Government is in the interest of the entire people of the state, more
importantly in pursuance of the resolve of Government to sanitize the
Public Service system which this administration has embarked upon.
“It is also important to understand the principle behind the policy of
the loan reform. The government cannot continue to subsidise the
greediness of the few bad eggs in the system. All these are well
understood by the labour leaders themselves.
“Therefore, law abiding workers have nothing to fear. They should
remain calm and committed as this government is on the side for
equity, fair-play and justice, and would meet its obligations to
workers promptly after the resolution of the above issues.”