Bayelsa: Labour unions condemn adoption of education levy

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[Bayelsa]–Labour unions in Bayelsa state have condemned the initiative of the state government to adopt the charging of educational levy in the State.

The unions expressed their disapproval during the meeting between them and Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, today.

According to Governor Dickson, though the state has invested heavily in the provision of needed infrastructures in various parts of the state, the education development levy is expected to assist in building a crop of highly skilled and educated Bayelsa youths, to meet the challenges of a competitive and industrialised world now and in the future.

The government would contribute 10% of its internally generated revenue, while public servants will contribute between N500 and N100, 000 monthly depending on their grade level to the fund.

However, the unions have opposed the levy after it was signed into law by the Governor, on March 29.

According to the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state, Mr Tari Dounana, the policy is ‘anti-people’ and the education levy and the withdrawal of a 20 per cent tax waiver granted civil servants were additional burden on workers.

“It is very unfortunate that such laws that will require civil servants to make contributions from their salaries were passed and assented to, without a public hearing for stakeholders to make their views known.

“The workers have made enough sacrifice, with between six to 13 months salary arrears and we had agreed to support the proposed Health Insurance policy where workers will also make contributions, this is one deduction too many.

“For them to formulate the policy without labour input leaves much to be desired, we are opposed to it,” Dounana said.

Mr John Ndiomu, the NLC Chairman said that the union leaders would present details of the discussion to their members at a joint congress meeting.

Ndiomu, however, said that the government had approved all pending promotions of workers.

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