Again, Niger govt begs labour to call off strike

Niger State government has sent a passionate appeal to the state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embrace dialogue and understanding by calling off its ongoing strike embarked upon by the unions in the overall interest of the state.

The government said for the growth and development of the state, it was prepared to continue with negotiations over their differences.

Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Zakari Abubakar made the appeal while speaking to journalists on Friday in Minna, saying, “the situation is temporary and that it is the deferred percentage of the salaries that will be refunded in due course.

“This is not the best of times for government and it is also not the best of times for labour. Government has not relented in reaching out to the organized labour unions. We are looking at issues raised by labour and we hope for an amicable resolution,” he stated.

He explained further that the deferred part payment of salaries of the civil servants was not deliberate, but due to dwindling resources of the state as a result of the economic recession that impacted on the FAAC and the state’s Internally Generated Revenue caused by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

Zakari Abubakar maintained that the present administration led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was passionate about the welfare and wellbeing of its workforce.

He explained that the state received N4.41billion from Federation Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) last month while the state’s wage bill was N3.1 billion, N485million for pension payment and over N500million for contractual obligations.

The commissioner disclosed that reforms were ongoing in the state’s Revenue Board to holistically improve its revenue base in IGR in order to complement monthly allocation from FAAC that has dwindled.

He, however, lamented that the state’s IGR was nothing to write home about, noting that it has further dwindled with the impact of COVID-19 from between N600million to N500million to current N400million due to tax relief for taxpayers because of COVID-19.

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