The Ebonyi State Government said it will commence payment of the new minimum wage as agreed by the Federal Government and the Organised Labour beginning from January 2020.
Governor David Umahi said this on Friday in Abakaliki while signing into law the state’s 2020 budget as passed by the House of Assembly.
Umahi, however, pleaded with the organised labour over the state government’s inability to pay arrears of the new wage.
He said that the state had financial constraints, a situation which everyone in the state understood.
“We, however, have the N500m approved by the State House of Assembly to assist workers and other segments of the society, engage in alternative means of livelihood which is agriculture,” he said.
The governor also announced that state government had graciously extended the date of the Abakpa Market Traders’ relocation to the new International Market by one month, from Jan.10 to Feb.10, 2020.
“Every leader must be guided by conscience as I went to the market’s second and third lots where the traders say they want to relocate-to and assessed the toilet which is very important.
“The toilet till present is not activated which is not good and also the light (electrification).
“No matter what happens between leaders and the led, the led are always right, so my conscience wouldn’t let me push them to that place without toilet, light and water,” he said.
He said that the government needed about N3billion to complete the projects and would approach the House of Assembly to secure the loan to run till Jan.31, 2020.
“The House Speaker knows all the challenges involved as we will set task forces on water, electricity and the movement of the traders to the new international market,” he said.
The governor signed into law a budget of N178 billion comprising recurrent expenditure of N46 billion and capital expenditure of N132 billion.
Umahi also during the occasion inaugurated a 7-member committee to investigate the altercation between Mr Chinedu Onah (PDP-Ohaukwu South) and the Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area (LGA), Chief Clement Odaa.
“Let me condemn the behaviour of the chairman for going there in the first place, it is wrong.
“I don’t want to talk about what happened there and we can imagine a House member going to a commissioner’s office to quarrel not to talk of a hallowed chamber of the house.
“Everywhere in the world, the parliament’s chambers are sacred places that people don’t desecrate and this made us set up a committee of neutral persons who are neither members of the House of Assembly nor State Executive Council,” he said.
He announced that the committee which had Chief Franklin Ogbuewu, Former Nigerian Ambassador to Greece and former Minister of Culture and Tourism, as Charmian, has 14 days to submit its report.
Mr Francis Nwifuru, Speaker of the House, who witnessed the budget signing alongside members of the assembly, said that he was impressed with the way previous budgets had been implemented in the state.
“We are impressed with this beautiful and well-articulated budget which we are optimistic will make Ebonyi work,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the state’s political sphere was heated on Wednesday, Dec.18 by reports of an altercation between Odah and Onah at the assembly complex over the screening of political office nominees from the area.
Odaa was reported to have slapped the lawmaker during the altercation and although he denied it, the assembly passed a resolution ordering for his immediate arrest and prosecution by security agencies.