Posted by News Express | 26 February 2017 | 2,943 times
Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, has said that it is not compulsory for all Ebonyi workers to participate in the state’s new pension scheme.
He announced this during a meeting with the Nigeria Labour Congress and its affiliate bodies over the controversy surrounding the new pension law at the Government House, Abakaliki on Wednesday.
Umahi, who said that any civil servant that is willing to opt out should indicate so in writing, added that once done, the person’s name would be expunged outrightly.
“Any worker that doesn’t want to participate in this scheme should in writing, not collectively, state that ‘I don’t want to participate in this pension scheme law’. Such a person will be excluded from the programme,” the governor said in a statementon Saturday by his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Anya.
Umahi, who reiterated his commitment to the welfare of workers , said his administration can currently afford 5% contribution to the scheme. He reminded workers that the Nigerian constitution provides in the concurrent list, for each state to make law to suit its financial capacity.
He flayed the NLC Chairman in the state, Ikechukwu Nwafor, for threatening to call a one-million-man match to protest alleged pension scheme deductions from workers salaries.
According to Umahi, the planned protest would not be allowed by the government.
He said: “We hear that Nwafor is planning to organise a one-million-man march against the government over the pension deductions but I know that not up that number voted during the last elections.
“We will, however, organise a three-million march if he goes on with his plan. We will not fold our hands and allow anybody or group destroy the government.
“Nwafor should join a political party if he wishes and let us know, as I have tolerated him and his activities enough and would no longer do so.
“I will no longer recognise the NLC leadership in the state as workers should look beyond the labour leadership toga because it is no longer fashionable.”
Umahi directed that the buses donated by the government to the NLC to convey workers to their duty-posts be withdrawn and given to the state branches of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The Governor also ordered “the state’s Fiscal Responsibility Commission to investigate if the Nwafor-led NLC commercialised the buses and immediately prosecute him if found guilty.
He disclosed that his feelings for workers as a result of the economic challenges hampered the implementation of National Health Insurance Scheme even when the scheme would be beneficial to them.
The Governor assured that effort was on top gear to put the necessary modalities in place to ensure full implementation of the law, adding that a Pension Board, which would soon be constituted, would recommend pension fund administrators.
Nwafor, had earlier said that labour faulted section 12 of the state pension scheme law which stipulates that the employer would make a contribution of five per cent while the employee makes eight per cent.
On their part, the NUT Chairman, Comrade Joseph Nweke, the NULGE Chairman, Comrade Leonard Nkah as well as the Chairman of TUC, Comrade Edwin Nwonu, eulogised the Governor for the new pension scheme and appealed to him to carry them along.
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