NewsReel 4/5/2014: - Speech By Gov. Orji On The Occasion of The Celebration of 2014 Annual Workers' Day, Held At Ibeku High School, Umuahia On May 1, 2014.

[ Masterweb Reports ] – Distinguished ladies and gentlemen; I have the honor and privilege to address you today as we celebrate this year’s annual Workers’ Day. The 1st day of May of every year has been set aside world-wide, to appreciate the contributions that workers of the world make in the development of mankind. Here in Abia State, we have good reasons to celebrate our workers for their improving productivity, and especially for their stabilizing effect on our polity, and the peaceful environment that our people enjoy everywhere.


 
The theme of this year’s Workers’ Day is : ‘Building Enduring Peace and Unity – Panacea for Sustainable National Development’. This is coming at a very unique time in Abia State and coincides with the era when our Government is consolidating our legacy projects.      

                        
 
It is our aim to consolidate our legacy projects to provide the foundation that will drive the new face of Abia, towards a sustainable and predictable development. Now more than ever before, our State desires industrial harmony and the security of lives and property to move our development forward, and I know I can count on our Workers cooperation to do all these.


 
I salute our workers of the State for having kept faith with our Government as we struggled in the past years to strengthen our nascent democracy, preserve our security of lives and property; create job opportunities to empower our youths, and pursuing our legacy projects as a preferred development strategy.      

                                                  
 
Our efforts have achieved results in the health sector, in the agricultural sector to improve food security and create employment; in re-building our neglected infrastructure, improving our commerce through provision of new markets and in improving our educational system, etc.


 
Through these many competing demands, the workers of Abia State continued to work hard, support and trust our Government, and you did not embark on any disruptive industrial actions. Instead, you imbibed the spirit of amicable settlement and peaceful resolutions wherever there were some disagreements. I commend you for this.


 
I especially salute the leadership of the NLC and TUC of Abia State, for working to support our security and peace efforts in the State, which have earned us the recognition as one of the most peaceful States in the Nation and as an investment friendly State. That is why the Abia economy is now taking an upwards swing. In all your supports to our Government, the leadership of  Abia workers has not abandoned the needs and rights of our workers in your interactions with our Government.


 
I also acknowledge that the workers of Abia State have been alive to your social responsibilities, and it was your votes that helped liberate Abia from the clutches of oppression, making it possible for our Government to focus on the needs of our citizens, especially the welfare of our workers and in the improvement of our overall economy.


                                                                                        
That is why in the past, we did not hesitate to implement the new national minimum wage for workers, even paying above what other States committed to.


 
Just like I promised you during our last workers’ day celebration, we are fast concluding the construction of a befitting new secretariat complex, and our workers are already moving in there to occupy the spaces. I am now happy that our workers can now work in a relative comfortable environment, and we will also continue to promote our workers as-when due, as well as provide the necessary incentives that promote a healthy workforce.


 
Recently, I commissioned one of our housing estates in Isieke, this and our other estates at Amuba and Adelabu are all focused on providing decent and affordable accommodations for all categories of workers. We will continue along this line.


 
Through our Labor desk that is manned by your former Chairman of State NLC, we continue to enjoy a harmonious working relationship with all labor unions.


 
We will continue to seek this path of cooperation with our workers, so that together, we will build full support and acceptance of government’s good intentions to serve all Abians.


 
Our Government will continue to build on the primary areas of cooperation with our Labour Unions, especially through mutual understanding of all issues affecting Labour and our collaborative  pro-activeness in addressing all sore areas. I am confident that these paths will be mutually useful in addressing all outstanding labour issues in our State.


 
I am very pleased to note the implementation of the minimum wage bill in three parastatals of our State – which were outstanding when we celebrated last year, especially in ADP, Abia Library Board and Abia State Council for Arts and Culture. I assure you that we will soon commence the implementation of out-standing arrears of payments to these workers.

 

We will continue to promote the independence of some of our State parastatals where necessary, to enable them assist in improving our State IGR, and also address any other existing disparities in the payment of the minimum wage in our State.
 

 
I am aware that some of our Teachers’ salaries are paid in arrears, including that of the Health Management Board, Teaching Hospital Aba and the Project Implementation Units (PIU). Our Government is working very hard to clear these arrears.


 
Also as a pensionable worker myself, I am very sensitive to the plights of Abia pensioners, and know that our government has been in arrears in meeting our obligations to retirees, especially in the payments of gratuities and accruing pensions. We are very anxious to meet such obligations to all pensioners and doing whatever is possible to address the issues.


 
Our Government is doing everything possible to improve our financial status, especially our internally generated revenue, so that we will be able to honor our obligations to all workers and retirees as-when-due.


 
We are also committed to the prompt payments of salaries and special allowances due to medical and health workers. That is why I recently set up two committees to review and harmonize the fees and levies payable to the State, so that both the State and the tax-paying public can reach a dependable platform for improved and predictable IGR.


 
The welfare of Abia workers will continue to occupy a primary position in the agenda of our Administration, and I am proud of the cordial relationship existing between Labour and our Government. This collaborative approach is certainly the sure route to follow if we must reach the collective prosperity, security and welfare of all Abians.
 

                          
I am aware that there are two other outstanding promises I made to Abia workers that are not fully fulfilled. One of these is our Government’s resolve to assist Abia Workers to build your befitting Labour House in the State, for the promotion of labour values. I want to restate here that our Government is ready to step in when Labour makes the first move to realize this project. That is why we have made an allocation of a plot of land to Labour to house the project.


                           
The second outstanding promise I made to Labour, is the provision of buses to your Unions. I have already made good on this by providing one bus to your Union, and the others will come in due course as we manage our lean resources.


 
To whom much is given or promised, much is expected. Therefore, as we celebrate today’s workers’ day, I urge all our workers to renew their faith, support and devotion to our Government, knowing that our Government means well for all Abians, and we are workers’ friendly. We cannot develop this State without your full support and sacrifices.


 
Our Government is in a hurry to develop this State, and all our efforts are directed towards making Abia better for all citizens, including workers. That is why we must build a sustainable economy of Abia State, and a more secured

 
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