THE Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Abia State, has disclosed that it will not hide its support from the incoming administration, under the watch of Dr Alex Otti.
In an interview with Newsmen in Umuahia, the Abia State President of NULGE, Comr Kennedy Nwaigwe, said NULGE as an active union in the state, whose responsibility is to protect the welfare of the Local Government workers, would support the new administration that would take effect from May 29, 2023, to ensure that the welfare of workers remains paramount, as well as, pursue its improvement.
According to Nwaigwe, the expectation of the Union, is that the new administration, under Dr Alex Otti, would take up from where the Gov Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration stopped, to touch the lives of Abia workers better.
He said though the present administration had some challenges but expects the upcoming government to make plans that would improve on those challenges, stating that NULGE is ready to give her support.
The NULGE President said the Local Government system under Gov Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration actually fared well, with the introduction of the biometric system, which contributed to the prompt payment of salaries of Local Government employees.
He said when the biometric system was introduced by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration, the union studied it to identify its pros and cons and thereafter, approved of it to its workers, since it could help stop the issue of unpaid salaries in the Local government system.
The NULGE President revealed that the union further encouraged Local Government employees to ensure they go to work regularly to clock their attendance, as the policy does not pay anyone who was not captured by the biometric machine.
This policy according to Nwaigwe, brought about prompt salary payment in the Local Government system.”Presently, the government is upto date in salary payment,unlike before that we were being owed. The biometrics helped in curbing delays in our salaries, as it also solved the issue of ghost workers that bedeviled the Local Government system . Some of our workers who stay in Lagos or even outside the country and do come to work, were being fished out by the biometric machine and their salaries redirected back to government coffers.
“The biometric system under Gov Okezie Ikpeazu indeed brought sanity to the Local Government system and this is part of the reasons we enjoy prompt salary payment today”.
Nwaigwe,however, urged parastatal and agencies who still suffer backlog of unpaid salaries, to identify the problem and devise means of tackling it. “There was a time we were being owed eleven months. As a union,we went back to the drawing board, tried to harness our revenue, blocked those loopholes through which our revenues were misappropriated. Then at the end of the day, we were able to generate revenue to pay ourselves.
“Any establishment that is suppose to generate revenue and is not doing so, should endeavor to block those loopholes through which their revenues are being boycotted, once those leakages are cemented, they will begin to generate funds and the issue of unpaid salaries will be a thing of the past”.
He further expressed optimism that Abia workers, would fare better under the coming administration, while appealing that the Governor-elect should bring up policies that would favour the workers.