Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum on Tuesday, 5 September, 2023, presented a cheque of N2 billion to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Borno State to disburse to eligible workers in the state as interest-free loans with a repayment period of 24 months to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
The presentation took place after a meeting between the Governor and officials of the NLC led by the Labour Chairman in the state, Comrade Yusuf Inuwa.
At the meeting which took place at the council chambers of the Government House in Maiduguri, Zulum asked the NLC to complete talks with state’s Ministry of Finance to determine the category of workers to be entitled to the loans as well as the loan recovery through monthly deductions of not more than one third of salaries.
The Governor also announced 100% increase in monthly releases for payment of gratuities backlog.
The payment was increased from N100 million monthly which equals N1.2 billion annually to N200 million monthly which will amount to N2.4 billion.
The gratuities are lump sums paid workers who retired from service, even as they become entitled to monthly pensions.
For many years, retired workers in Borno State are owed gratuities for which Governor Zulum has released about N20 billion to drastically reduce the backlog even though more workers retire every year, making more of them to be owed gratuities.
Although many are owed gratuities, Zulum
has since introduced a policy of automatic migration of retired workers from salaries to pensions. Before the policy, it took retired workers months to complete documentation before getting monthly pension while they wait for gratuities which takes longer waiting time.
Also as part of outcome from his meeting with the NLC, Zulum announced the allocation of 30 buses to be dedicated to conveying workers in the metropolis at subsidized fares.
The buses are to be managed by the Borno Express Transport Corporation but to be deployed at pick up points along major routes to move workers to the Musa Usman secretariat in the morning and return them by evening from the secretariat to where they were picked up in the morning.
Governor Zulum has also directed the state’s ministry of finance to clear backlogs of promotional benefits owed workers whose names where omitted during earlier payments.
The workers were those still being owed 2016, 2017 and 2018 promotional benefits after their names where omitted during payments approved by Governor Zulum in 2019.
Zulum directed that workers owed 2019 and 2020 promotional benefits should all be paid while those owed from 2021 to date are to be paid based on outcome of a recent promotional exam which they participated in.
The NLC Chairman in Borno State, Comrade Yusuf Inuwa had tabled some demands, top of which the governor approved.
He revealed that the NLC demanded loans for workers who may want to go into agriculture and other businesses or acquire some assets.
He also said the NLC demanded allocation of buses and clearing of promotional benefits.
Inuwa also said labour demanded increase in the monthly allocation for payment of pensions.
The NLC chairman thanked Governor Zulum for meeting top of their demands, hoping that labour will continue engaging the government for more demands to be addressed for the welfare of workers at the state and local government levels