Gov. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau, has promised to clear the backlog of pension arrears, amounting to N30 billion, to alleviate the sufferings of retirees in the state.
Mutfwang made the promise on Monday in Jos at the opening of the first ever Plateau Government/NLC/TUC retreat, saying that workers welfare remains his topmost priority.
The governor said that successive administrations did not give adequate attention to the welfare of retirees, hence the huge amount of unpaid pensions.
He told the workers that the same zeal employed to clear outstanding civil servants salary arrears is the determination and commitment he would deploy to clear the pension arrears.
“Efforts are underway to address long-standing issues like gratuities, death benefits, and pension arrears, as the last payment of gratuity was done in 1985.
“The welfare of civil servants is paramount; hence, we have cleared the backlog of inherited salaries, which spanned over four months, and we are up-to-date with the payment of workers’ salaries.
“Also, we have approved the payment of the 90 per cent Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and 75 per cent hazards allowance.
“Similarly, we have approved the payment of 75 per cent Hazards Allowance to other health workers, that is, the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives.
“Recognising the significance of the civil service, we have prioritised its well-being by fulfilling promises, such as clearing outstanding salaries, rejuvenating the workforce through training, and ensuring the regular release of overheads for enhanced productivity,” he said.
The governor assured that his administration would continue to uphold the values and ethics of the civil service as a deliberate step towards fostering an environment for all sectors to thrive.
He stated that the guiding principles of his administration include fairness, justice, and equity in the treatment of every worker.
Mutfwang emphasised that the retreat exemplifies his administration’s dedication to reshaping the narrative and ideologies hindering the efficiency of the civil service.
The governor said that the theme of the retreat, “Promoting Effective Social Dialogue for Industrial Relations Under the Context of the Time Is Now Mantra”, is apt and timely.
According to him, industrial harmony is crucial for development, and the civil service must be a cornerstone of continuous dialogue to achieve this.
Plateau NLC Chairman, Mr Eugene Manji, said that the retreat was an opportunity for government and labour leaders to brainstorm on ways to improve governance in the state.
Manji said that the retreat would afford labour leaders the opportunity to learn things in line with the International Labour Organisation.
The chairman commended the Plateau Government for partnering with organised labour to launch the maiden retreat.
Prof. Pam Dung Sha, Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, advised the Plateau Government to set up a team of labour advisers instead of the usual one adviser.
Sha, who was a guest speaker at the retreat, said that one Adviser was grossly insufficient to properly advise the government on labour issues.
The director of research advised workers to be committed to jobs for the growth of the state. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)