Uzodimma gifts workers palliatives, prepares to pay gratuity to retirees

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has, in his usual magnanimity, directed the distribution of food items to all workers in the State as a way of cushioning the effect of hardship in the country.


He has also promised to ensure that all the civil servants who retired from 2007 will get their gratuities paid before the end of this year.


Performing the flag-off of the distribution at the Imo State Secretariat Complex Port Harcourt road Owerri, Wednesday, the Governor assured the workers that the hardship they are currently experiencing is but for a while as his government and the federal government are working hard to change the narrative.


Governor Uzodimma who told the civil servants that the palliative of rice and ground nut oil are just a precursor to a lasting solution to the challenges they face working for the government said that arrangements had been concluded to put in place the Imo State Marketing Company that will take care of their basic needs.


The Governor told the Civil Servants that he was prepared to keep to his own promise to them as the workers had earlier kept theirs.


“The time to reciprocate is now,” Governor Uzodimma said, noting that “the food distribution is not a permanent solution to the situation the workers found themselves, but an interim measure to manage the effect of the current hardship and difficulties occasioned by the global economic strangulation and the current effect of the reforms undertaken by the current administration at the Federal Level.”


He said he found it auspicious to interface with the workers in solidarity, and to use the opportunity to “explain some of the realities of the moment and the position of government and what government expects of the workers and what the workers should expect from the government.”


The Governor emphasised that government has so much trust in the civil service, and decried that the prevailing situation of the decay of the system was orchestrated by past administrations and consequently, “ugly things became beautiful things and beautiful things became scarce.”


Governor Uzodimma used the opportunity to explain, once again, to the civil servants the consequences of the removal of the subsidy on the petroleum products, the unification of the foreign exchange rate and the increasing cases of crude oil theft all of which have affected the economy of the country.


He assuaged their fears that governments at all levels are insensitive to their plight, saying in the contrary, “government is now working hard to stop all those issues that have pulled the economy backward and bring a new life to the Nigerian populace.”


The Governor informed that “the current economic policies are rather meant to stabilise the economy and bring the cost of living very low and affordable,” insisting that “the process will come with discomfort and high cost of living, but given the examples of what happened with other nations, that of Nigeria is not an isolated case, rather the economic difficulties is a global issue.”


Again, he implored the Civil Servants to trust him the more as he has not come to pretend in the service to Imo State, but have come to do his best to correct the anomalies he met in the civil service system on assumption of duty. He reminded them that the success of his government requires the cooperation of the workers.


On a lighter note, Governor Uzodimma told the workers that everything is not food, saying, “rather when the public schools, public hospitals and social order are restored, the citizens will save money and enjoy a better living condition.”


He therefore encouraged the civil servants to persevere as the end of their suffering is in sight.


The Governor proceeded to announce the re-strengthening of Imo Marketing Company that will carter to their basic needs, saying that his desire is to ensure that Civil Servants in Imo State do not lack. He promised to invest huge sum in agriculture so that we  “produce what we will eat and eat what we will produce.”


But in the interim, he said his administration will bring in enough foodstuffs through Imo Marketing Company and that the Civil Servants will be required to operate a voucher service whereby they can buy at reduced price their preferred items, and even on credit with the voucher, with the approval to refund the money from their salaries at the end of the month being guaranteed.


The Governor assured of the establishment of Imo Marketing Company Outlets in all the Local Governments in Imo State and even at the State Secretariat, to make it easier for workers at all levels to register and get the vouchers.


Governor Uzodimma however cautioned against abuse of the process, urging the civil servants to, only buy what they need and not to resale what they bought after they were subsidised because of greed.


He contended that the flag-off will spread to the LGAs and Communities and will serve as a stimulus package for the people and the economy of Imo State, promising the workers that no State anywhere in the country will be better than Imo State in terms of welfare services.


On the benefits accruing to the the newly elevated civil servants, the Governor said he will approve the recommendations of the Head of Service’s led committee on the matter whenever the report gets to him .


Also on a happy note, the Governor reassured of his promise to pay the backlog of gratuity from 2007 to date before the end of 2024.


In his welcome remarks,  the Head of Service of Imo State, Barr Raymond Ucheoma commended the Governor for his generosity and commitment to the overall welfare of the work force of Imo State.


He assured the Governor of the workers diligence, commitment and contributions to the commonwealth of the State in particular and the nation at large, noting that “the Governor’s sincerity of purpose to the welfare of the workers has been the benchmark in the service of the State.”



Oguwike Nwachuku

Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor