Civil servants in Rivers State now have cause to smile, as the State Government has approved the disbursement of funds for the interest free loans promised them few months ago.
Rivers State Head of Service, (HOS), Rufus Godwin disclosed this when he featured as a guest on a Radio programme monitored by the Tide in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Wednesday; pointing out that in addition to their salaries this month, the workers would start going home with the loans.
Godwin recalled that the State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike had few months previously promised to introduced an interest free loan for civil servants between levels 01 to 13, expressing happiness that the governor has fulfilled that promise.
Godwin said, “I am using this opportunity to break the news that all civil servants in the state are yearning to hear. His Excellency on his own promised that he was going to introduce an interest free loan scheme to civil servants.
“Historically that loan was introduced in 2003, but along the line it fizzled out. At that time it carried some interest on it. Then the Governor came in and few months ago he said he was going to surprise the civil service.
“He (the Governor) has to package a loan scheme that will be interest free for civil servants from level 01 to level 13. That is those who are not in the directorate cadre. And we have worked out all the details and today to the pleasant surprise of civil servants through my office His Excellency has approved the release of the first tranche of funds for the disbursement of loans to civil servants.
“So, the civil servants are not just going to have their December salaries, they will be going home with an interest free loan that is repayable within 24 months. If your retirement service in not within this two years you are qualified.
By: Dennis Naku.
Christmas Celebration: PH Residents Bemoan Cash Crunch
Today is Christmas Day.
It is another opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. As expected, the atmosphere is electric. The mad rush is noticeable everywhere. Human and vehicular movement is unprecedented in Port Harcourt.There are desperate attempts by residents to meet the expectations of family members and loved ones. This is because love is in the air. In the midst of all these, our correspondent combed the Garden City to find out how the residents feel about today.
Mrs Chibuzor Martins, food stuff dealer
This year’s Christmas, it’s well oh! I don’t see anything serious about the Christmas this year. People have been complaining, even workers, they say no money is flowing in the system. Workers are lamenting that even the salary when paid is not enough because they have incurred debts that need to be settled before the salary arrives.
There is very low patronage this year than other years. This year what I experienced instead of sales is people coming to ask about the price of things, but they don’t come back to buy them again. Look at it now, today is December 24th and yet no sales.
I wonder when we are going to sell out all these goods we have bought and hoping to sell them this Christmas. There is really nothing to show about this year’s Christmas, but we have hope for a better tomorrow.
We would still celebrate Christ’s birth as it remains the reason for the season, so whether sales, or no sales we would still celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ because His coming is the reason why we are alive.
Mrs Doris David, business woman
Christmas is a season to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, so whether there is money, or no money, we must thank God for life because there are many people in the hospital who have money, but cannot celebrate the Christmas.
As the Federal Government has declared Tuesday, 25th, Wednesday, 26th December, 2018 and Tuesday, 1st January, 2019 as public holidays to mark the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year celebrations respectively, we must take advantage of these public holidays to enjoy ourselves while we are alive.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, had made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government in a statement signed by the ministry’s Director of Press, Mohammed Manga last Wednesday evening.
This is a period when Christians should think and reflect on God’s gift for us and so I want all Christian faithful in Nigeria to use this period in praying earnestly for the betterment and development of our country, Nigeria.
While I also expect that the Federal Government make life comfortable for Nigerians because there is serious hunger in the country and almost all businesses in Nigeria can no longer thrive with the harsh economic system in the country.
Mrs Amaka Shefiu, provision dealer
This Christmas, there is nothing to show for it because up to this time, there is no customer to buy our goods. We are just managing by the grace of God. There is no money, people are complaining of no money.
By this time last year, we sold reasonably although it cannot be compared to sales we made last three years. If it were during the Jonathan administration, by this time, we would have packaged goods for customers to use as souvenirs but this year, not even one person has asked that we wrap gifts for them to use as souvenirs.
This year is the worst year I have ever witnessed in my Christmas sales as there is a very high decline in our sales.
Augustine Eze, mason worker Christmas is very hard to me as there was no money anywhere despite the hard labour I am doing. My family has no food and we cannot travel home for Christmas like we did last year.
During the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, there was enough money in my hand and me and my family members travelled home on time for Christmas and New Year, but this year, it’s very difficult for me to see food to put on the table for my family members.
I am very hard working and ready to do any menial jobs, but I will work and no money to pay me for it.
I am not happy at all because I have never celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ without money. I cannot buy Christmas clothes for my children and wife and they are not happy too.
Pastor Kingsley Munachim
This Christmas is very good because it brings life to me, my family and the entire world. This is why I said the Christmas is very good whether there is money or not.
I am grateful that I am alive because there are many people who are on the hospital bed now and they cannot see the brightness of the day, but I am sound and healthy enjoying this Christmas harmattan, so I give God all the glory.
Nwibari Dick, newspaper vendor
There is nothing to celebrate about this Christmas. All I am looking for is money to settle some outstanding demands confronting my family this season. I am struggling to make ends meet, yet, it is as if I am doing nothing. I want the local, state and the Federal Governments to find a way to provide jobs for the people, so that it would go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of the people.
NLC Rejects Technical Panel To ‘Look Into’ N30,000 Minimum Wage
As the presidency considers passing the report of the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly in form of bill, for passage into law, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said no Technical Committee will look into the already agreed figure of N30,000.
The NLC was reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up to look into the ability of state governments to pay the already agreed minimum wage to avoid job loss.
Buhari disclosed this at the presentation of N8.83 trillion 2019 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in Abuja, yesterday.
“To avoid a system crisis on the federal government and states, it is important to device ways to ensure that its implementation does not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing. I am, accordingly, setting up a high powered technical committee to advice on ways of funding an increase in the minimum wage and attendant wage adjustments without having to resort to additional borrowing.
“The work of the committee will be the basis of finance bill which will be submitted to the National Assembly alongside the minimum wage bill,” Buhari said.
Buhari, said the committee would recommend modalities for the implementation of the new minimum wage.
But, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba told newsmen in Lagos that no Technical Committee would look into the issue of N30,000 minimum wage.
“We cannot use any technical committee to look into the agreed minimum wage. The President promised to pass the report to lawmakers a week after it was presented to him.
“Once the tripartite committee has met and agreed on an amount, no other committee can meet on the same issue,’’ Wabba added that it was the tripartite committee’s decision for workers to be paid N30, 000 as minimum wage and there was no going back by labour on the amount, and also noted that Organised Labour would meet, next week, to take a decision the next line of action. Earlier, President of the United Labour Congress (ULC), Joe Ajaero, said a tripartite committee had considered the ability of governments to pay the sum before the committee agreed on it and that Labour had resolved to fight for the new minimum wage even after the upcoming general election, saying that there would be no retreat or surrender until workers received the wage. Buhari set up a tripartite committee on November 5, 2017 and the committee later agreed on N30, 000 as new minimum wage after prolonged consultations.
He received the panel’s report this December.
Dickson Signs Security Bill Into Law …Sends 2019 Appropriation Bill To Assembly
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has signed into law the Community Safety Corps Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the state House of Assembly.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah quoted the governor as expressing optimism that the amended law would enable security agencies and vigilante groups carry out their operations more effectively in the state.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the signing, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Friday Benson, described the amended law as an embodiment of all security-related laws passed by the state legislature.
Mr Benson said the bill was given expeditious passage in line with the prevailing collaboration between the legislature and the executive in order to improve the security situation in the state.
His words: “The amendment became necessary because we have to bring in the element of vigilante groups. That is why we will not be doing vigilante law separate from the community safety corps. “That means the new law is an embodiment of several security elements brought together to ensure that we have a very holistic and robust security outfit that will be able to take care of the security challenges in the state.”
Also speaking, the Majority Leader, Peter Akpe explained that the assembly merged some of its earlier security legislations, including the Community Safety Corps Law, to make for easy implementation as well as give legal backing to the state-owned security outfits.
“We had the Operation Doo Akpo, a quick response squad, that was formed by the state government without a legislative backing. We also had the Education Safety Corps, which was an intendment of government to have security hovering around the existing infrastructure and personnel in education.
“All these packaged together is what we had as the Community Safety Corps Law. But the new one is an amendment to that, which encompasses all these elements.
“So with this amendment, the Operation Doo Akpo and the Bayelsa Vigilante now have legislative backing. And for purposes of records and emphasis, the new law has no relationship with the Bayelsa Volunteers because that also has its own law. So we just have two existing security-related corps to support the activities of security agencies in the state,” Mr Akpe explained.
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