Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has stopped further deductions from the salaries of civil servants until after the New Year. The deductions were for workers’ pension scheme and their social welfare contributory levy.
Governor Amaechi gave the directive for the suspension of further deductions Monday at a meeting with civil servants at the state secretariat, Port Harcourt.
“No more collection of any money at all in bulk even if it is Pensions Board that we are owing, let Rivers State Government pay Pensions Board then we can be collecting from you(civil servants) in small amounts so that you will not feel the pain, that is the assurance I am giving you”.
“No further deductions even if it is pension and they want us to pay in bulk let Rivers State Government pay and you start to deduct gradually, no bulk deduction whether it is social welfare or pension”, Amaechi said.
The workers agreed with the governor’s decision to stop further deductions from their salaries until after January.
Later at an interactive session with journalists, Amaechi said “the government does not deduct money arbitrarily. It is impossible. The workers are not even accusing us of deducting money arbitrarily. They are saying that we are deducting arrears in bulk sum that is reducing their salary, that we should have taken it in such a way that they won’t feel the impact."
“That was the first deduction. So when I got the information I stopped the deduction, I said this is Christmas season, don’t deduct any money from anybody in the name of social welfare levy during this season”.
“Then the second deduction, they didn’t know what it was for until I explained. It is contributory pension scheme. We pay 7.5 per cent, they pay 7.5 per cent so they didn’t know that the money was deducted for their pension."
"I have already directed that this Christmas season must pass and deductions can start from February. If the Pension Board is asking for the money we can pay on their behalf and gradually deduct from their salaries, so we have resolved that and we have agreed that no further deductions until February”.