Dickson, NLC, TUC meeting on education levy ends in stalemate

Posted by News Express | 6 April 2017 | 1,707 times

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•Governor Dickson.

The meeting between Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa and labour leaders over the compulsory education levy on civil servants ended in a stalemate.

The Labour unions in Bayelsa have opposed the newly enacted act to compel civil servants to contribute to a pool of fund for educational development of the state signed into law on March 29 by Dickson.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) Chapter Chairmen said on Wednesday that the meeting did not arrive at a consensus on the levy.

Mr John Ndiomu, NLC Chairman in Bayelsa said that the union leaders resolved to present the issues to their members at a joint congress where a decision would be taken on the education levy.

Ndiomu said that the government had announced the approval of outstanding promotion of workers.

The Higher Education Students’ Loan and Education Development Trust Fund laws make it mandatory worker in the Bayelsa public service, government officials as well as the private sector to contribute to the fund.

The government is expected to contribute 10% of the state’s internally generated revenue, while public servants will contribute between N500 and N100,000 depending on the grade level in support of the fund on a monthly basis.

Also Mr Tari Dounana, TUC Chairman in Bayelsa noted that the education levy and the withdrawal of a 20 per cent tax waiver earlier granted to civil servants presented additional burden to the workforce.

Dounana lamented that workers owed a backlog of salaries of over six months were grappling with surviving the current recession.

Dounana described the levy as an anti-people policy by the executive and legislature without the input of the public and stakeholders.

“It is very unfortunate that such laws that will require civil servants to make contributions from their salaries were passed and assented to without a public hearing for the stakeholders to make their views known.

“The workers have made enough sacrifice, with between six to 13 months salary arrears and we had agreed to support the proposed Health Insurance policy where workers will also make contributions, this one is one deduction too many.

“For them to formulate the policy without labour input leaves much to be desired, we are opposed to it,” Dounana said.

According to Mr Jonathan Obuebite, Bayelsa Commisioner for Information, Dickson had appealed to workers to refrain from politicising the policy adding that the state government had invested about N50 billion in the education sector.

“The state government sees the welfare of its workforce as a priority and the policy is in the overall interest of the citizenry, it is meant to make world class education to every child in Bayelsa and we want the people to make nominal sacrifices,” Obuebite said.

Source: News Express

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