Bag of rice is ₦80k – Cross River workers disappointed with Otu’s ₦40k wage

Workers urged the state govt to avoid over-dependence on federal allocation but look inward and devise other sources of income.

Some workers in Cross River have expressed disappointment at Gov. Bassey Otu’s announcement pegging the new minimum wage for workers in the state at ₦40,000.

The workers shared their displeasure in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar. It will be recalled that Otu while addressing workers on Wednesday, said that the state government would pay ₦40,000 as the new minimum wage to its workers.

The governor had listed lean allocation from the centre and unfavourable Gross Domestic Product to debt servicing ratio as some of the reasons for the decision. Eno said that the state government would rely on the realities of the time in making decisions towards the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Speaking to NAN, Emmanuel Ekanem, a civil servant in the state, described the ₦40,000 announced by the governor as ‘far below’ the expectations of workers. He said that such a pronouncement did not showcase the governor as a leader who understood the yearnings of his people.

“At a time when a bag of rice is sold between ₦70,000 and ₦80,000, declaring ₦40,000 as minimum wage is terribly poor and unacceptable,” he said.

Isu Ewe, a judiciary staff, said she was disappointed at the pronouncement, and urged the governor to take another look at the decision.

“I expected to hear at least ₦60,000 as the new minimum wage for the workers in the state. The hardship is too much.

”What can ₦40,000 buy? Workers have school fees to pay, parents to take care of and rent to pay.

“The governor should really look at the situation of things in the country and do something about the take-home of workers,” she stated.

Another civil servant, Edem Enoh said that workers did not expect such a pronouncement from the governor, describing it as hasty. He urged the state government to avoid over-dependence on federal allocation, look inward and devise other sources of income.

“The welfare of the people should be top on the government’s priority list. This pronouncement is hasty and unacceptable,” he noted.

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