The Imo state government has reduced the working days of some civil servants in the state. Workers are now to work for three days in a week, while they can spend the remaining two days on their farms.
This was as the government introduced a policy tagged: “Back to Land
for Agriculture”, which is meant to enable the state workers engage and
invest in agriculture for self-sustenance.
Governor of the State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, made the policy known
when traditional rulers from the state, operating under the aegis of
Royal fathers in Agriculture, paid him a courtesy call at the Government
House Owerri on Monday.
He further explained that the State Executive Council has given approval to the new policy.
A statement by the state governor’s Chief Press secretary, Sam
Onwuemeodo, however assured that the new policy will not affect the
salaries of workers.
The statement reads, “Against the backdrop of the “Back to Land for
Agriculture” Programme, the governor directed that public servants in
the state would now work from Mondays to Wednesdays, and use Thursdays
and Fridays for agriculture (farming) while Saturdays can be used for
ceremonies. And the directive takes effect from Monday August 1, 2016.
“However, the governor exempted public servants on essential duties
like the teachers, nurses, doctors and people involved in Internally
Generated Revenue drive. Political appointees are also exempted from the
three-days working periods.
“We shall try this programme for the period of one year, starting
from 1st of August 2016 and hopefully this will help. Let me make this
emphasis before it is misconstrued or misrepresented, that this does not
in any way affect the salaries of the workers.
“Workers will get their full salaries as been the practice. So the
policy does not mean that there will be a cut in salary rather let us
now find a way for our workers to supplement their salaries”.
He continued, “For this reason the issue of annual leave and casual
leave is hereby cancelled. Resumption time for work has changed from 8am
to 7.30am in the morning and ends by 4pm. Any worker that is not found
on his or her seat between7.30am and 4pm on the days concerned will be
“Everybody must go back to agriculture. Every political appointee
must own a farm. The youths would also be encouraged to take to
agriculture. Schools including Universities, Polytechnics and Secondary
schools in the state must own farms. The Community Government Council
(CGC) must be strengthened for the sake of this agricultural programme.
“Two billion naira (N2b) has been set aside at the micro-finance bank
for the purpose of this Back To Land For Agriculture policy so that
those willing can access it. And time is gone again when politicians and
some Imolites will come to government in the pretence of farming and
collect loans and use it to buy cars and marry new wives.
“Again, the June and July Salaries would be paid this week. We are
making sure that our workers are comfortable and our pensioners are
happy because this is one area the whole nation is having a serious
“Our problem is not being unable to pay salaries but paying
over-bloated salaries. We are also making effort to pay our pensioners
once the harmonization is over.
“I also want to announce that government has appealed to families and
those who organize burials on Mondays to Wednesdays to please change
and have their burials on Saturdays so that we can concentrate on the
government’s work and on the agricultural programme.
“Everything that has to do with agriculture no matter what shape it
comes, government will support it. So many countries are going through
economic crisis because of the fall in oil.
“Our nation is also going through very difficult moment. We have
taken responsibility as leaders and we are not blaming anyone. Wise
nations and leaders save for the rainy days.
“There were periods the oil price was in our favour. But those in
charge then blew the money. They made no savings. Today the oil price
globally has crashed and here we are. And we must fall back to
agriculture as the panacea.”
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