Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo has announced a new minimum wage of N40, 000 for workers in the state to ease the pains caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
The governor also announced N5 billion revolving loan for farmers, as well as free transportation and medical care.
Mr Uzodimma made the announcement during a special meeting with critical Imo stakeholders, on Saturday in Owerri.
The governor said the free transportation, feeding and medical care was for civil servants.
He said other palliatives include the establishment of marketing and commodity boards, mass housing and recruitment of more teachers.
Mr Uzodimma said that the government had also initiated a scholarship scheme for Imo students, while retirees will be paid promptly.
“It is clear to me that our people are suffering, particularly the low-income earners and those in paid employment.
“I have therefore convened this special meeting with the leadership of organised kabour, traders, farmers and artisans, to announce the comprehensive palliative measures we are putting in place, which I am sure will ease these sufferings,” he noted.
He expressed confidence that the measures would stimulate the economy, create additional jobs and enhance workers’ wages.
“Let me say, however, that although the impact of the fuel subsidy removal policy appears harsh in the short-run, it will, in the long run, bring positive results.
“There shall be an immediate upward review of the salaries and wages of workers in the state.
“The minimum wage is hereby raised to N40, 000 with discretionary consequential adjustments.
“At least your salaries would be able not only to take you home, but to also provide your basic necessities to enable you to make ends meet,” he said.
Mr Uzodimma directed the state head of service to work out the modalities for daily free meal for civil servants as well as free medical treatment in designated hospitals.
For farmers, he said the N5 billion revolving loan will be released immediately to stimulate production in the value chain.
“Farmers will also be encouraged to form cooperatives to facilitate organized farming.”
On teachers recruitment, he said it would be for all public schools.
“There will be recruitment exercises for new teachers from primary to secondary and tertiary levels to boost employment and income generation, particularly among our graduates.
“The government has approved bursaries for students in tertiary institutions,” he added.
He said the government would train 100,000 youths annually in digital skills through the Ministry of Digital Economy and E-Government.
“So far, 5,000 of them have been successfully trained and equipped with relevant kits and tools.
“Another batch of 15,000 are currently in training and they will graduate in a few weeks,” he added.
He assured retirees that the government would source funds to commence the payment of their gratuities from 2008/2009.
The governor also assured the stakeholders that efforts would be intensified at providing mass housing for Imo people, including the completion of the ongoing mass housing estates in Mgbidi, Anara and Nekede.
The Anglican archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. David Onuoha, commended the governor for taking the lead in providing solutions to the suffering of the people.
Also speaking, chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Philip Nwansi commended Mr Uzodimma for his leadership qualities which he noted had started yielding results in the South East.
Mr Nwansi urged the governor not to relent despite the challenges he may be facing.
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