Civil servants in Anambra State on Tuesday were filled with joy following 10 percent increase in their salaries by the state Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.
Making the declaration at the celebration of the 2022 Public Service Day at the Anambra Secretariat Complex Awka, Soludo also promised the workers N15,000 as Christmas bonus.
The theme for the event was; “Performance Management System: Impact on the Nigerian Public Service.”
The Governor expressed empathy for income earners, especially in the light of the dwindling economic situation in the Country.
He said, “Given my own background as a worker, what we are not able to do for the working class, you must understand it is literally impossible.
“On the issue of Christmas rice, we reviewed how it’s done in the past and discovered that it is no longer tenable.
“I understand in previous years that past governments gave 25kg bag of rice to civil servants for Christmas.
“The state of Nigeria is bad. Everybody is complaining. Prices are rising very fast, I look at you and wonder how you cope.
“Today, 50kg bag of rice costs over forty thousand naira (₦40,000). That’s beyond the salary of a graduate in the public service. Something is not right!
“What we will do instead, between today and tomorrow, we will first of all make sure that our pensioners are taken care of, to demonstrate good faith.
“I wish we could do much more but today, you will receive an alert of ₦15,000 as Christmas bonus.
“The income is not increasing, government revenue is not increasing. We cannot print money.
“I understand what you feel and wish that our revenue will go up so we can multiply what comes to you in proportion to Nigeria’s inflation.
“The Head of Service made a request for releasing funds to process promotion.
“We have made the budget for next year and it has been signed. Any new thing not in the budget can’t be done.
“I received a report a few days ago recommending minor adjustments in salaries. We will review it and see if it is feasible.
“From February to date, NNPC has not remitted a dime to the federation account and our state of finances means we can’t do everything at the same time but, we have to prioritize and that’s why we are collecting taxes.
“Next year, Lagos is expecting to collect 100 billion naira a month from IGR while Anambra is still aiming at 3 billion naira. But I assure ndi Anambra that any money that comes into our hands, we will utilize them judiciously.
“Last year public service day, I was here to plead for your votes. Today, I have appeared to you as the Governor of this state. You employed me as your Chief servant and I am your employee.
“I thank you for your services to Anambra. I am the Chief Public Servant and without you, there will be no public service.
“The Civil servants contribute to what is making Anambra to be what is it today. I commend all the ministries and the staff of Anambra State Public Service.
“I congratulate the 33 selected awardees specially recognized but it doesn’t mean others aren’t working hard.
“I also commend the commissioners, Managing Directors and Heads of Parastatals.
“We promised to create a liveable and prosperous homeland. This is our mission and you all shall deliver it. We delivered this message through the head of service.
“We are not supposed to be celebrating public service at this time of the year but I insisted, to thank you all for the year 2022 before we cross over into 2023”, Governor Soludo said.
“Our five fingers of Government includes; Security, law and order; Economic transformation, social agenda, reforming ways government works and the environment.
“Eight local governments were taken over by criminals when we came into power and we have taken over our land from criminals. We have driven them away from our bushes and forests.
“Someone in Finland declared 5 days sit at home but in Anambra, the sit at home was not observed”, Soludo stressed.
“We will get back to work full scale, working 5 days in a week. When we work four days and our children go to school only four days, we won’t deliver the same thing as those who work for five days.
“We must take back our state otherwise, we are losing 20% each week. Security, law and order must come back fully into Anambra. Kidnappers and criminals must give way in our state.
“100% of those we have caught are Igbos but it must come to an end.”
Earlier, Head of Service, Barrister Theodora Igwegbe, appealed to the Governor for full implementation and consideration of the national minimum wage in the state as well as upward review of salaries to mitigate nation’s economic challenges.
She also appealed for approval of funds for civil service commission to conduct 2023 promotion interviews, provision for official cars for permanent secretaries and directors as done in the past, provision of work tools, computers and procurement of buses to ease transportation challenges of civil servants.
She said, “We also plead for appointment of permanent secretaries as present ones are in charge of two ministries which is presently affecting productivity, Billboards for Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex Awka, desilting of drainages in the complex, office furniture procurement for use in the offices, repainting of buildings and fence of the Secretariat Complex.
“We promise and pledge our full dedication and commitment to you and your Government. We vow to work assiduously, to ensure that your vision for the state is judiciously implemented.
“We recognize, reward hardwork and excellence of colleagues who have distinguished themselves in the discharge of their duties. We rededicate our service to discipline and service delivery to our people.
Thirty-three officers drawn from various ministries were presented with certificate of recognition for their exemplary services and dedication, News Echo reports.