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Delta Government Workers Fight Dirty Over Contributing Health Insurance Scheme

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Anger, anxiety and confusion were the elements that played out when Delta State Head of Service and Civil Servants brainstormed over the recently introduced contributing health insurance scheme.

Both parties met yesterday at the unity hall of Government House Asaba, where the workers, in a fury, bear their minds and hatred for the scheme, describing it as “conduit pipe” to milk them dry from their paltry salaries.

The seminar tagged: “Dialogue with the Head of Service” with various lectures”, the ideal number of permanent secretaries in the state public service relative to the situation in other states of the federation, the rationality of retirement under the current economic situation to fill the generational gap occasioned by retirement in view of the large size of the state public service relative to the situation in other state of the federation, glaringly saw over 4, 000 civil servants in the hall raising questions as to the relevance of the contributing Health Insurance Scheme including expressing their displeasure over the scheme with loud ovation of no we are forced into the scheme” the angry workers alleged it was a way of collecting money from them for inexplicable reasons.

The State Head of Services, (HOS), Mr. Reginald Bayoko, however dismissed the allegation of fraud as untrue, stating that the contributing health scheme would serve as measures to alleviating sufferings of the civil servants in terms of health failures and urged them to make their contributions.

He said that the Okowa led administration was committed to the welfare of civil servants in the state, particularly in ensuring prompt payment of salaries and other benefits.

The Head of Service (HoS) Mr. Reginald Bayoko said the present crops of senior civil servants are great assets to the state in its determined efforts to build a virile bureaucracy and not minding any opinion to the contrary.

He stated that the issues of dwindling revenue had been occasioned by the acute drop in the crude oil in the international market that has lingered for over three years.

Bayoko explained that price of crude oil plummeted from its high of above $100 per barrel to its recent level between $40-150 per barrel, a recovery from the low of under $30 per barrel.

The said: “the dictation for the scheme is uncalled for, we are forced into it, civil servants are suffering in Delta state for one deduction or the other”.

Some angry workers described the scheme as a failure that can never address their health issues, adding “we are totally not in support of the scheme, we are forced into it by the present government of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, we shall soon take to the streets when the situation becomes too unbearable”.

The worker declared that the scheme will contribute N3.5million yearly to the government purse and not necessarily to take care of their health.