Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has said he would pay one month salary bonus as part of his Christmas package to workers.
Umahi, who was on a visit to the Ebonyi State University permanent site in Ezzamgbo, said in spite of the recession in the country and the fact that the state is one of the lowest recipients of federal allocations, his administration was determined to improve the lot of its workers.
Explaining that junior workers would receive 100 per cent bonus and senior workers 50 percent, he challenged the university authorities to emulate his administration by paying salaries on or before 20th of every month.
To the university workers and students, he said his administration would also put smile on their faces during the Christmas period. To this end, he announced the donation of a bag of rice each to all staff of the university and N5m to be shared by them.
He also gave 3,000 bags of rice and N10 million to the students as their Christmas gifts and donated two buses to the Students Union Government for easy transportation of students to their various campuses.
The governor further stated that the state House of Assembly had already given approval for sums to be spent on the largesse, stressing that his government was not owing workers salaries.
Recall that Umahi had announced 5 per cent salary increment to all the workers on October 1 this year.
Umahi further disclosed his administration’s plan to begin immediate payment of gratuity arrears owed by both local and state governments since 1993 amounting to N8bn.
The governor, who expressed dismay that civil servants found it difficult to pay their retired colleagues their pensions but would want to be paid when they retired, said the payment of gratuities would begin this month with the families of retirees who are now late.
He said: “We are not owing anybody pension in Ebonyi State. Gratuity is owed since 1993 and gratuity for both local and state governments is over N8bn but the funny thing is that when you seat as a civil servants, you refuse to pay others their gratuities and when you now leave, you start insisting, we should pay gratuity.
“So, for those we have owed gratuity for a very long time; we are expecting a miracle. What we want to do for our brothers and sisters that were not paid gratuities and they are dead, we intend to look at them and see how we can pay off their gratuities through their families and we hope to do it this December.
“We also want to pay everyone that has retired 10 per cent of whatever we owe him/her in the name of pension and other allowances.”
Umahi further disclosed that his government had assisted Ebonyians mostly women doing petty business (not hawkers) in Lagos with N140m to enhance their business opportunities.
The governor also announced there was no going back on dry season farming in the state next year.
•Photo shows Governor Umahi.