Following his declaration of Fridays as work-free, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said as high as 60 percent of civil servants in the state now go to the farm every Friday.
The Governor who spoke to newsmen last weekend, said the measure had become necessary considering the inability of government to pay salaries of workers as at when due.
“Part of it (reason for the declaration) is to make sure that we maintain our integrity as the food basket of the nation. In addition, we looked at the economic situation of the state and the fact that salaries are not coming as at when due and decided to let the civil servants go back to their farms in this cropping period.
“Between now and the end of July, whatever they are able to do will add value. Even if you do not have the transport fare to go to your village, find something to do in your backyard. Whatever you are able to do will add value to the development of agriculture in the state and increase your value within your family. So, apart from maintaining our integrity as the food basket of the nation, we think this would add value to our civil servants.”
When asked if he thought the civil servants are actually utilising the opportunity for its intended purpose, Ortom said, “When you make a policy like that you don’t expect 100 per cent compliance, but I am aware that more than 60 per cent of the people are taking advantage of the opportunity, and they are happy about it. Not everybody will be happy and willing to do that, but we have no option than to go back to farming.”
Benue state government is owing up to five months wages and six months for local government workers.
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