There will be upward review in taxes, school fees and other rates in Ebonyi State in order to enable Government pay the new national minimum wage.
The announcement formed part of Governor David Umahi’s address to workers in the State during the 2019 Workers day celebration on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
Governor Umahi, who said his Government was committed to the new wage, however, noted that he would neither be the first to pay nor the last to do so.
He called on the workers and indeed all Ebonyians to brace up to the demands of the challenges imposed by the new wage review, adding: “The Governor cannot perform magic.”
Umahi stressed that it has become absolutely inevitable for workers and other citizens to key into the vast opportunities created by his Government for alternative sources of livelihood.
According to him, the State government would soon set up a Joint Negotiation Committee with Labour to discuss and agree on modalities for the wage implementation.
He further advised the Labour leaders to work in harmony to ensure the implementation of the new wage law in the private sector by ensuring that the least paid worker goes home with a minimum of N30,000 at the end of every month.
Umahi said: “I know that most of you want to hear about the new minimum wage: we are committed to it and there is no going back…
“But let me disappoint my friend, Ayuba; I will not be the first to pay and I will not be the last.
“But to pay, we will definitely pay…
“But definitely, if you want to make an omelette, you must break an egg.
“Know that we will definitely do review of school fees in EBSU and College of Education.
“There will definitely be a review in taxes in Ebonyi State.
“We will make sure to do all we have to do in order to pay.”
While Justifying his withholding order on the salaries of civil servants from the crises areas of Abakaliki, Ikwo and Izzi local government areas, the Governor said the measure was to save lives of the people, insisting that it would be sustained until total peace returns to the areas.
He however expressed gratitude to the leaders of the area for working towards the restoration of peace in the area.
The Governor, who seized the occasion to congratulate the Leonard Nkah-led Nigeria Labour Congress in the State for a successful congress, however, directed the Commissioner for Internal Security to ensure the arrest and prosecution of any other person parading himself as NLC leader in the State.
The Governor added that the Government would undertake the construction of the Labour House, an office complex for NLC in the State.
He submitted that his administration was a great revolution in the State that does not look at faces, adding that Ebonyians should be able to judge him at the end of 2023.
Earlier in his address, Comrade Nkah had pleaded with Umahi to release the April salaries of some of the workers from Ikwo, Abakaliki and Izzi, which were withheld on account of the crises that recently rocked the area.
He further requested the Governor to address the issues of workers promotions, conversions, advancements as well as a State Office complex for the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Others who spoke at the event, including the Head of Service, Dr. Chamberlain Nwele, who doubled as the Chairman of the occasion, commended the Governor for his friendly disposition towards the workers welfare.
The Theme for this year’s celebration was: “Another 100 years of struggle for jobs, dignity and social Justice in Nigeria.”