Akwa Ibom makes U-turn on pay slash, appoints 155 aides

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Akwa Ibom State Government has rescinded its decision to slash workers’ salaries by 20 per cent. The state also appointed about 155 special assistants (SAs).

The Guardian learnt that the state government took the decision after meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to avert a possible crisis with the union.

The new 155 SAs, it was also learnt, were appointed by the governor last week while the appointment of another 900 personal assistants (PAs) is said to be in the offing.

The new appointees were said to have started enjoying some stipends in preparation for their formal appointments, while the new appointments follow a recent 20 per cent deduction for existing political appointees due to COVID-19.

The government was said to have been planning to deduct workers’ salaries before it was actually implemented in June despite an agreement with the NLC to shelve the plan.

NLC Secretary, Mr. Iboro Ebara, confirmed the salary cut, but said that government had agreed to refund the deductions with the July salary.

He said the appointment of the new 155 special assistants and another 900 personal assistants was at the prerogative of government, adding that they were not opposed to appointment of SAs by the governor as this would act as palliatives to the beneficiaries.

“The government has reviewed its decision and has promised to refund whatever was deducted by July.

“On the appointment of SAs, I don’t think the labour has ever argued with employment. We wish everyone could be employed. We don’t have any issue with people getting employed or empowered.

“I don’t think it is an employment, but the government is providing palliatives probably to supporters of PDP. It is allowed. They are citizens of Akwa Ibom State and if their income improves, it is good for the economy of Akwa Ibom,” he said.

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