By Nakanda Iyadim
Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade has again expressed his willingness to implement the new N30,000 minimum wage.
Ayade restated his commitment to the implementation of the new minimum wage when the new leadership of the State Executive Council of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), led by its Chairman, Comrade Ben Ukpepi paid him a courtesy visit recently.
The governor told the visiting Labour leaders that the welfare of workers remains sacrosanct under his administration.
“For the new minimum wage, as soon as the schedule is worked out by the Federal Government, I will ask us to reconvene and agree on the way forward because I believe that as a team and as family we can always find a common ground and work it out”, the governor said.
Continuing, he said: “I have no intention not to implement the minimum wage because the salaries are too poor to carry you. So, I have no objection about payment of minimum wage but don’t also forget that you have a responsibility to ask the federal government to reduce their own side of 55 percent in the allocation formula because if you take our state for instance, which is number 35th in the country in terms of allocation and the new minimum wage is paid, we will definitely get stuck to each other. So, we need to work together for its implementation.”
Pledging not to sack any worker to be able to pay the new minimum wage, the governor thanked labour for its support for him during governorshiop election.
“I have always said that I am committed to pay within the limit of our resources. I have no plan to retrench and will never sack because it’s not in my nature to do so. You need to agree with me on how the implementation will be done.
“Let me thank you for your massive support during my re-election. I must say that Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was a major force to my overwhelming success at the poll and in reciprocating this gesture and as a show of gratitude, I will continue to work and cooperate with you as partner in progress for industrial harmony in the state.”
Professor Ayade said his victory at the polls was a product of his determination to reinvent the state.
The governor used the occasion to disclose his plans to breath life into the Obudu Ranch Resort, saying “even if you renovate the Ranch with gold, after five hours of a tortured journey from Calabar to the Ranch, it will be difficult to convince you to do a second trip. So, no matter what you do, the first challenge for any professional who is looking properly into dealing with the issue is to first and foremost address access to the ranch because when you get there beautifully without stress, you will love to come back again and again.”
He listed the construction of the superhighway and the Obudu International Airport as part of the plans to revamp the ranch “because the Bebi Airstrip is locked into a magnetic mountain, it has a very high accident rate. People are scared of flying into the airstrip.
“My plan now is to fix access to ranch properly and when the airport is ready alongside the superhighway, I will bring in Disney World as part of revamping the Ranch.”
Earlier, Comrade Ukpepi congratulated the governor on his victory at the polls describing it as victory for the workers and ordinary Cross Riverians.
The NLC chairman assured the governor that the organized labour will remain a strong pillar and committed partner to the development of the state.
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