From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has advised the State Negotiating Committee on National Minimum Wage not to wade war with each other but work in the overall interest of Benue people.
The Governor gave the advice yesterday at the inauguration of the committee in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
Deputy Governor Engr. Benson Abounu who performed the inauguration on behalf of the Governor, noted that the committee is a think tank and platform for analysis to be carried out and compromise reached in the interest of Benue people.
He said the committee has a serious duty in negotiating what will eventually become a salary structure for Benue civil service and its parastatals.
According to him, the job of the committee will in the long run, ensure effective and efficient civil service, promote cordial relationship between labor and government, adding that it will make or mar the State government in many years as far as the civil service of the state is concerned.
“I urge you to take the assignment seriously, be dutiful and committed. Information from the Ministry of Finance would be critical in this assignment. You should reach out beyond the State to be abreast with what obtains in other states.
“I advise you to carry the workers along. You should listen to labor side, labor should also, listen to government side. We cannot float in vacuum but fly with the realities on ground. When you have a government that only pays salary and finds it absolutely difficult to embark on developmental projects, then the salary is meaningless”, the Governor said.
Responding on the part of government, the Chairman and Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Tony Ijohor pledged that they would do their best, maintaining that the committee has the potential to make the administration succeed or not.
“We will be fair and take into consideration peculiarities of Benue State. We are not going to war. It is a give and take thing. We will be thorough and guided by the overall interest of the State.
While the Chairman,Joint Negotiation Council Comrade Ojema Ojotu assured that labor would be considerate and cooperate maximally during the negotiations.
He appealed to the state government to provide a conducive atmosphere, insisting on openness, fairness, flexibility devoid of intimidation.