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Rivers State Workers Welfare And The Dangers Of A Single Story - Politics - Nairaland

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Rivers State Workers Welfare And The Dangers Of A Single Story by TonyOputa(m): 9:26pm On Sep 07, 2020
By Ugochukwu Oputa

Workers play an integral part of the running of any organisation, and in most cases, the performance of the organisation thereof, is greatly dependent on the welfare of these workers.

If there have been one narrative that have rubbed negatively on the Nyesom Wike led administration, it is that of Workers pensions and gratuity.

This narrative, told overtime, have formed what one of our well celebrated writer, Chimamanda Adichie referred to as, The Danger of a Single Story; as the facts have been misrepresented to seem like a clear disregard to the civil service by the state government.

In 2017 and 2018, a survey done by an independent Statistical & Financial Data analysis firm BudgetIT, made the observation that, while 20 states were owing workers salary and remunerations, Lagos and Rivers had a clean slate, noting that the states have been consistent in the payment of workers’ remuneration and pensioners’ entitlements

(See Link for yourself:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/punchng.com/20-states-owe-pensions-salaries-budgit/%3famp=1)

It will also interest you to know that, this administration have been paying pensioners from the first day in office, till this day. But just like the other narrative, that is not the whole story.

I believe that at this point, your question will be, what then is the whole story?. If the present administration have been paying pensions, why then is it been said that they are owing workers pensions and gratuity?

To answer this question, we’d need to do some back tracking in time.

Prior to the Nyesom Wike led administration in the later part of 2015, the former administration were already owing workers salaries for a period of 3 months, pensions arrears for a period of over 4 months and also a backlog of gratuity accruing to billions of naira.

Also, at the center of the pensions issues was a law passed by the former administration, known as the Contributory pension scheme.

CONTRIBUTORY PENSION SCHEME

Let me take some time to explain this to you.
In 2004, the Obasanjo led administration initiated the contributory pension scheme, which was further reformed in 2014 by the contributory pension reform act of 2014 (amended).

The idea behind the contributory pension scheme is a noble one. It is arranged in such a way that the employer is expected to contribute a minimum of 10% of the employee’s monthly emoluments (sum of the basic salary, transport, and housing allowances) while the employee contributes a minimum of 8%; making a total of 18% pension contributions.

These funds is then deposited to the individual employees Retirement Savings Account RSA, and then invested on behalf of the employee via FGN Securities, Money Market Securities and other investment vehicles to the benefit of the employee. The idea is that, you do not only save for retirement but gain some accrued investment on the contributions.

How then did this good idea turn into a problem?, you must be wondering.

Problems started when Government failed to remit their own part of the contributory pension funds. In fact, in 2017, the NLC doubted the sustainability of the Contributory Pension Scheme claiming that the federal government’s liability to the scheme was no less than N183billion.

In Rivers State, the former Governor had adopted the Contributory Pension Scheme act, and signed it into law, hereby having part of Rivers State worker trapped in the challenges emanating from the failing Pension scheme.

The resultant effects thereof, created a complex challenge of properly deciding how the scheme should come into effect, or proceed.

POST MAY 29, 2015

Upon assumption of office, the Governor spotted the the defective pension law operated by the past administration as one that posed a major challenge to workers welfare. He kick started the process of fixing the law through the State Assembly, and in 2019, he sign into law, The Rivers State pension reform law (No.4 of 2019)

Upon the amendment of the state pension law, the state government commenced biometric capture exercise aimed at enlisting eligible individuals into the pension payroll. As at June 2019, over 800 pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme where placed on the payroll and had started receiving their pensions.

It is worthy to note that pensioners who are not under the Contributory Pension Scheme, have been receiving their pensions uninterrupted since 2015 when this administration came to power, till this day.

In fact, the Governor, also cleared the four months pension arrears he inherited from the Amaechi administration, before entrenching the regular payment of monthly pensions.

While we cannot say all the challenges have been solved, it is only right to appreciate the fact the the government have been making deliberate efforts in trying to fix a problem it inherited. More so, the fact that efforts of the government have been bringing desired results, should be an indication of sincerity of purpose on the side of the Government.

A Government met its workforce being owed, trapped by a defective law, with challenges here and there, swung into action, cleared the workers outstanding payment, reformed the defective law, enrolled eligible pensioners to the payroll, and went further to clear debts being owed to them by the past administration.

To me, this government is but a victim of a single story.

Yes, plight of civil servants with regards to unpaid benefits are well understood and I frankly sympathize with them. However, the steps taken by the government in trying to fix these issues should indicate that this administration appreciates workers' welfare.

The narrative that the government inhumanely and unjustifiably ignores workers' welfare is simply inaccurate

Ugochukwu Tony Oputa
7th September, 2020

#OurStateOurResponsibility

Re: Rivers State Workers Welfare And The Dangers Of A Single Story by MelesZenawi: 9:35pm On Sep 07, 2020
Osun state...

Problem full body
Re: Rivers State Workers Welfare And The Dangers Of A Single Story by otokx(m): 9:41pm On Sep 07, 2020
Is it true that the state has not adopted the new minimum wage?

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