Okorocha Has No Plan To Retrench 3,000 Workers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Okorocha Has No Plan To Retrench 3,000 Workers

Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 6:27 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
Why Imo Is  Yet To  Conduct  LG Polls –  Ibe
Not long ago, the Imo State Government and the Organized Labour were on a collision course over former’s policy  to concession some parastatals in the state.  In this interview with our correspondent Anolu Vincent, Engr. Chidi Ibe, the Commissioner for Information Youth and Sports, gives an insight into the concession package, insisting that it was done in the best interest of the state. Excerpts:
Governor Rochas Okorocha has repeatedly professed his determination to alleviate youth  unemployment in the What  then informed the concessioning  of 20 parastatals  which threw over 3000 workers into labour market, in addition to the abolition of the famous “youth must work programme?.
Thank you very much for this question which has unfortunately been misunderstood and misinterpreted by some members of the public including the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC). The concession programme was first of all not in anyway meant to downsize to retrench workers or staff in the affected parastatals. Concession is a managerial policy and procedure obtainable in the world of work. Many  factors can lead to a concession of work  organizations whether  in the private  or in the public sector and these include: embezzlement, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, low productivity, poor quality of human resources, poor financial  management , laissez faire attitude of staff among others.
Concession of parastatals by the state government was to ensure the steady and increased productivity of such parastatals  which had remained  moribund  for years.  The essence of the concession is to allow reputed professionals  in the particular sectors  who are trail blazers and renowned  bureaucrats in such  sectors to take charge  of the affairs and to see how they could convert such parastatals into  fortune mines.
In retrospect, one of the state governments agreement  with the concessionaire organizations was for them to go back to the drawing board as if it is new establishment. The process is seen as “senatio in radice” clearing from the roots. It is a sort of methodic doubt whereby everyone in the affected parastatals, even internationally acknowledged and renowned experts  and professional is presumed a neophyte until proved otherwise by a quasi reassessment and re-engagement process. What this  means in essence is that all staff were  temporarily and technically “suspended” (but not sacked). All  that they  were required to do was to reapply as if they were to be newly recruited and whoever qualified  based on the concessionaire  organization’s  standards which they professionally believe would lead  to increase  in results, turnovers and productivity  would be accepted back and  re-engaged. The State  government  firmly believes that it is through  these processes that the spoor of decays  in such parastatals  could be sieved  and checkmated.
To lend credence to the fact that this is not a witch –hunt , one of the major pacts in the concession agreement was that there would be no recruitment or engagement  of new staff. The bulk that would constitute the proposed new  face of all the parastatals would be from the already existing  pool of human resources.
 What about the alleged sack of over 3,000 workers?
Let me make it abundantly clear that there was never a time 3000 workers were sacked or retrenched. These are dangerous   rumours still making  the rounds  spearheaded  by malicious people and  the opposition  which wish  to heat up the polity  all  in an effort to tarnish the reputation  of the current Rescue Mission administration  in the state. it is on record that the present administration  in the state pays workers higher wages than their counterparts in the neigbhouring states.
The state government  in the process of rescuing the state had  discovered  that the immediate past administration in the state is the root  of all these  present crises.  This  started with the introduction  of bogus salary/ pay package to civil servants that would be nationally compared with other states which even have  higher  source of internally  generated revenues and federal allocations. To make matters  worse, in their  necromantic sabotage  of putting  the state in  debt, they introduced a salary scale which they never  intended to pay  but to use as a strategy and  a booby trap to tarnish  the image of the incoming administration  and to pitch them  against  the workers.
This was exactly the same style of politics adopted by the same party at the federal level . At the twilight days of their tenure, the immediate past government at the federal level pronounced six new universities of Education which the citizens had been clamouring and yearning for years. They never deemed it necessary but only after  realizing  that they had lost in the presidential elections. This is the problem, the ill fated University status  of Alvan and others are suffering  till today .
As earlier stated, the essence of the concession was to shore up productivity and services which had remained  a mirage  for decades. People  come to work but each day, there is nothing to account for the time and energy  spent  in at office yet at the end of the month, the government  spends millions  of Naira in paying them.
When people make mountains  out of a molehill in this issue of concession scheme policy, it was based on the sheer fact that there were people who are already apprehensive that they would not make it because  they did not have the  credentials . These are the people who came into such parastatals  through  command appointments and executive fiats and they are the people  generating odious rumours against the government .
The youth must work programmed has not been abolished but is only being reorganized  for increased efficiency and productivity to ward off ghost workers. We will overhaul the system  and will not recruit new hands. In Imo youth must work programme, the state government had discovered that some people  came in  with fictitious names hence the scheme was temporality suspended. We have started  a thorough  screening and after  this, we will re-engage those  well qualified and we will do this through  the Royal  fathers in charge of the various 637 autonomous communities, local government transition caretaker committee chairmen, and Government laision officers (GLOs), when  we are through with this, payment would be by electronic  means.
The two government owned media Houses, the Imo Broadcasting Corporate and the Imo Newspaper Ltd are still lying  comatose and prostrate, what is your ministry doing  to salvage  them from possible extinction and to make them more efficient and productive?
We have already installed  serviceable equipment  for the Imo Newspapers Ltd and His Excellency has mandated  me to reinvigorate and to make the Newspaper House  more productive and we are in the process of realizing this. We have received a marching order to restructure the Imo Newspapers and the Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) has been transformed tremendously and we  are in the process of digitalizing the Radio station as directed by the National Broadcasting  Corporation (NBC)  I can sincerely assure you that very soon, they would be digitalized and the station  will regain her premier position as the clearest voice  East  of the Niger. For now, there is no moribund or obsolete equipment in the Imo Broadcasting Corporation.  The ones  we have there are very strong and modern  and as I said earlier, we will digitalize all the equipment there for people all  over the country  to receive  the station.
The state government  is said to be contemplating to abolish her free education  programme. Is this true? 
I want to make it abundantly clear that His Excellency has no plan whatsoever to abolish his laudable Free Education Programme which as you know  is unprecedented in the history of this state since 1976.
The  Free Education Programme is the brain child of  governor Rochas  Okorocha who had prior  to his emergency as the governor of the state, distinguished himself as a redoubtable credible  philanthropist, Recall that before he became a governor, Owelle  Anayo Rochas Okorocha  had offered scholarships to thousands of bright  but indigent students across  the 36 states of the federation. He is a lover of Education  who appreciates the importance  of Education. He had  before May 29, 2011, offered scholarship to over 13,000 children  of unknown  parents and when he told Imo people that  he would provide Free  Education if elected governor  in 2011, his immediate predecessor Chief Ikedi Ohakim dismissed this as a ruse and a gimmick meant  to deceive the electorate but His Excellency being a man who does not  play to the gallery meant business  and proclaimed himself “Commander  of Free Education . He offered free education from primary to university levels.
But I want to  confide in you that the state government had recently come under pressure to drop her Free Education  Programme even with the state chapter of the NLC being part of the pressure groups agitating that the package should be  stopped for workers in the state to receive an enhanced salary  package. But His Excellency being a leader interested in the welfare of the masses has remained consistent and resolute in the sustenance of the programme. Remember that he has forfeited his security votes and allowance and also slashed the security votes of members of his cabinet to fund the Free Education Programme.
Why has the state government not conducted local government election since it came on board almost five years ago?
We had scheduled to conduct local government election  thrice but each time, the former PDP council chairmen had thwarted this with their court injunctions. They have continued to restrain us from going  ahead with council elections and as  a law abiding government, we do not want  to run foul of the law because we are law abiding. Ordinarily, we would have  loved to organize the council elections but  since our hands are tied by the court, we  have decided to operate them with Transition  committee chairmen and in so doing, we ensure that every ward is duly  represented. Please advise the PDP to give peace a chance. There time had expired and they should come back home and give  peace  a chance. If you  recall  the Daily Sun Newspapers of 15th of this month page 38, had published an article with the misleading caption “when Labour  occupied  Imo for six hours” with and appellation “it is warning to other employees”. You begin to imagine the kind of society we are in . Labour  in  any way never  occupied the state for hours except  that they marched to Government House  peacefully where they were  addressed by His Excellency. The state was never in anyway  paralyzed by labour as people went about their normal business without fear or molestation.