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40th Anniversary: Governor Ahmed writes workers

 L-R: National Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Alhaji Najeem Yasin, Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment & Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Comrade Isa Aremu,  Former SA Labour to Kwara State Governor, Comrade Bisi Fakayode and Kwara State Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council, (IPAC) Abdulmumini Onagun at 40th Anniversary of NLC in Ilorin.
My dearest comrades,
I am delighted to join you all, both in our State and indeed across the nation, for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). Without an iota of doubt, the NLC has remained a strong force in labour matters and a respected stakeholder in the country in its four decades as a union.

Let me, therefore, start this letter by applauding the NLC for its numerous contributions towards the socio-economic development of the country and just as well its long-standing commitment to the protection of the interest and welfare of Nigerian workers at all levels.

In Kwara state, we must also place on record the commendable role being played by organized labour in upholding the industrial harmony that we have always enjoyed in the State. I'm confident that this role has been borne out of our shared commitment to fostering peace and progress in our dear State of harmony. 

As a government, we remain committed to your welfare and we value your immense contributions to the growth and development of the State. In recognition of your efforts, we have therefore focused on the continuous development of the human resources within the civil service.

For instance, you will recall that in 2017, a total of 1,578 civil servants in the State benefitted from the promotion exercise conducted by the State Civil Service Commission. Again, in our recognition that good health is paramount to the welfare and productivity of workers, our government also partnered LEAH Foundation to offer health screening for 4,000 female civil servants in the state in the same year. Additionally, as part of efforts to provide civil servants with a conducive working environment, the State government in August 2017 commenced the construction of an ultra-modern Secretariat Complex to cater for the increasing workforce in the State Civil Service.

My dear comrades in the labour force, I'm happy to inform you that the Secretariat is at an advanced stage and will be completed, God willing, in few months time.

This type of letter would be incomplete if I fail to mention the issue of the moment: salaries, particularly for our dear comrades in the local government system. Without doubt, one of the major challenges confronting Nigerian workers at the moment is the issue of unpaid salaries.  It's quite unfortunate that many state governments have for the past few years been facing difficulties paying workers salaries due to the prevailing economic circumstances. Indeed, we, as a country, cannot morally sustain any claim to economic recovery without resolving the salary crises facing several states in the country.

Thus while I commend the Federal Governments several interventions aimed at resolving this crises, it is clear that extra ordinary measures are still required to bring the unfortunate crises in pockets of states across the country to an end.
These measures, I recommend, should include more prudent management of resources, humane but radical internal revenue reforms and long-term borrowing to bring this regrettable crisis, brought about by sustained drops in federally-allocated revenue, to a quick end.

My dear workers, I'm, however, pleased to note that despite the economic situation, the Kwara State Government has consistently ensured regular payment of salaries to the State civil servants and pensioners. Nevertheless and sadly enough, the salary crises remains a problem at the local government level in the state. As a parent and husband, I know what non payment of legitimate earnings can cost families. I understand the effects on school children and other social consequences to the society. I feel the agonies and pains of workers who can not be sure of their monthly income. 

And I'm deeply concerned about the plight of the affected comrades and pensioners and stand ready to always partner the council chairmen to find a lasting solution to the crisis. In this regard, I'm hopeful that the recent improvement in monthly allocation from the Federation Account will be sustained, which will enable the councils to continue to pay full salaries to their staff. I'm equally optimistic that the ongoing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) reforms at the local government level will be helpful in this regard. This collaboration with the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), which has been yielding positive fruits, will assist the councils in meeting their obligations. 

While the issue internally generated revenue has unfortunately been politicized by those who seek partisan profit from the plight of workers, let me state categorically that our taxes, levies and fines remain one of the lowest in the country, especially in the informal sector. It is, therefore, untrue that the state government is imposing undue burden on the citizenry or seizing the constitutional roles of local government councils.

In contrast, our ingenuity in the reform of our IGR, especially by blocking the leakages and improving effectiveness in its collection processes, has resulted in the implementation of our developmental agenda. With improved internally generated revenue, we've been able to fund  uninterruptedly such project as the ongoing Diamond Underpass in Gerin Alimi, state secretariat, various campuses of our University, sango to University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital road and other roads across the state. In the next full months, we hope to complete the ongoing water reticulation in the Ilorin metropolis, the light up Kwara project, which we also hope to extend to other communities outside the state capital, In Sha Allah. 

Therefore, as we move to another decade in the emergence of a virile labour union, I, once again, seek for for your co-operation and understanding in our mutual efforts to create a sustainable platform for the emergence of Kwara State as a model for growth and development in Nigeria and sub Saharan Africa. 

Once again, I congratulate Nigerian workers on the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Nigerian Labour Congress. Happy celebrations, my dear comrades. 
40th Anniversary: Governor Ahmed writes workers Reviewed by Unknown on March 01, 2018 Rating: 5

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