December 3, 2021

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Dickson’s Declaration On New Minimum Wage A Scam?

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The declaration on the implementation of the new national minimum wage by the outgoing Bayelsa state governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson with effect from January may be a scam afterall.
The governor approved the payment of the N30,000 new national minimum wage to workers in the state with effect from this month.
He gave the approval during a meeting with the leadership of the organised labour at the Government House, Yenagoa, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Fidelis Soriwei.
The approval for the payment of the new minimum wage came about eleven days after the restoration government constituted a 12-member committee chaired by Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, the state Head of Service, for the implementation of the new salary structure.
The head of service had assured that the modalities for the implementation would be concluded for effective payment from January, saying “it has been approved, we are going to work out the details.”
The organised labour, represented by chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Bayelsa chapter, John Ndiomu, had expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting.
But TNN investigations revealed that there is nothing on ground to show that the payment of the new minimum wage would be effected before the expiration of the restoration government on February 14.
According to our checks, up till the moment of filing this report, no official circular had been released to the accounting officers in the ministries, directing them to prepare new vouchers in line with the newly approved payment.
A senior accountant in one of the ministries who refused to be mentioned because he was not officially authorised to speak, said “my brother, as it stands now, there is no document backing the verbal pronouncement made by the governor to pay the new minimum wage with effect from January.
“In the civil service, we don’t work with verbal directive especially in matters that involve payment of salary increment.
“Before payment of this nature could be carried on, there must be a circular duly signed by the appropriate authorities, officially directing the accounting officers to prepare new vouchers in line with the new payment structure.
“In this case, there is nothing like that and as a result, no new vouchers have been prepared. There is every indication that we are still going to use the old voucher and that means the payment status quo remains until further notice.”
With the current development, the hope of civil servants in the state to enjoy an improved salary scheme starting from the month of January as promised by the outgoing government may have been dashed.
We Are Anxiously Waiting For Our New Pay This January -Labour
We also gathered on good grounds that the organized labour unions are unhappy with the outgoing restoration government on the likelihood that it might not be able to kick-start the implementation of the new minimum wage as promised by the governor, before leaving office.
Sensing a possible foul play in the system, the NLC and TUC have issued a strong statement, warning the Dickson led restoration government to stick to her earlier promise to commence the payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000 with effect from January, before the expiration of the government.
In a statement jointly signed by chairman of NLC, Comrade John Ndiomu and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Laye Julius, who thanked governor Dickson for the “gracious approval” said “workers in the state are anxiously waiting for their new pay at the end of January, 2020.
“To this end, any organ of government giving any counter directive is doing so at his or her own peril as organized labour will not accept anything short of what the governor has pronounced.
“Therefore, it is pertinent to emphatically state that any attempt to use the old structure for salary payment for the month of January will be strongly resisted by labour.
“We are therefore calling on the state government to do the needful in order to avoid industrial disharmony in the state.”
If the above warning is anything to go by, it implies that the state workers may have prepared for a showdown with the outgoing government if it fails to begin the implementation of the new minimum wage in the month of January as pronounced by the governor.
We also gathered that the third tier of government in the state is equally ready to fight the out-going governor for not including local government workers in the payment of the new salary structure during a meeting with the organized labour, meaning that even if government decides to commence payment of the new minimum wage this January, the LGA workers would not benefit.
It is also observed that many workers in the state, including staffers of tertiary institutions and pensioners, are still nursing their wounds of disappointment following failure of the restoration government to pay their salaries for the month of December.
We learnt that there are fears amongst civil servants in the state that the inability of the outgoing government of Seriake Dickson to pay all the civil servants their salaries last month may continue this month following a garnishee order from the court to allow some banks deduct part of the monies accruing to the state from the federal government due to the indebtedness of the state to the banks.

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