Monday, October 15, 2018 1:31 pm
By Ifeoma Aniagbado
Team of Independent Consultants were in Anambra State to assess the activities of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).
The team carried out the assessment programme from Oct. 8 to Oct. 9, at the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Hall Ministry of Agriculture, Awka.
The Team Leader, Prof. Peter Nnabude, at the wrap up of the assessment, said that the visit was to strengthen issues required for the progress of the programme in the state.
He noted that the team comprised experts, who were poised to see that the objectives of the VCDP activities were realised.
Nnabude, however, said that the team was unable to visit Anambra East and West Local Government Areas (LGAs), but hoped to do so as soon as the flood receded.
He added that the team was happy with activities of the VCDP in the two LGAs visited.
The state VCDP Marking Platform Officer, Mr James Mozie, representing the State Programme Coordinator, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, pledged that all that the team needed would be provided.
He urged the stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to enable the team to do justice to their work.
The state VCDP Agricultural Production Officer (APO), Mr Emmanuel Chukwukwelu, said the assessment was an annual event by the VCDP.
He welcomed all participating stakeholders’ like ADP, Extension Services/Agents Provider and Farmers Organisation; as well as Rural Life Services that contributed their quota to the consultants.
“The assessment remain the major chain of what VCDP is doing in the state,’’ Chukwukwelu added.
State VCDP Assistant Agricultural Production Officer (AAPO), Mr Joe Okonkwo, commended the independent consultants’ visit to the state.
He noted that this would help the data record of their activities in 2018 from Demo plots, Farmers Field Business School (FFBS), seed centre to their field performances.
“This will in turn enable them to write a comprehensive report to Abuja, the headquarters
The report was purportedly sponsored by Organised Labour in Anambra State and entitled: `Pension Scam Rocks Anambra’.
This is contained in a letter signed by TUC state Chairman and Secretary, Mr Ifeanyi Okechukwu and Mr Alex C Ebi respectively.
The letter addressed to Gov. Willie Obiano said that the publication was strictly the opinion of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and did not represent the position of organised labour that comprised the NLC, TUC and JNC.
The congress pointed out that talks had been on between government and organised labour to address all ‘grey areas’ concerning contributory pension scheme.
It also affirmed that both parties had yet to conclude discussions, stating that it was not consulted, neither did any organ of the council, nor did the tripartite bodies that made up the organised labour, meet or agree, in whatever form or manner, to any such publication.
In separate development, NLC leader in the state, Mr Jerry Nnubia, raised alarm over the contributory pension scheme.
He said that funds had been deducted from worker’s salaries since 2014 to fund the scheme and added that the contribution was alleged by sources to be missing.
Mr Nnubia noted this recently while addressing the 2018 edition of World Day for Decent Work in Awka.
Nnubia, then, suggested that workers in the state might embark on strike to protest the purported missing funds and alleged government’s failure to remit the said funds to the pensions board.
He decried government’s alleged inability to account for the money.
“For the avoidance of doubt, some of the labour issues already communicated to the state government include the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“Since 2014 when the law on Contributory Pension Scheme was passed in the state, government has continued to deduct money from the salaries of workers to fund the scheme without remitting same and government counterpart contribution to appropriate quarters.’’
However, TUC has reiterated its commitment toward ongoing discussion with state government stating firmly that it is not party to any intention or proposition for what it called ‘an ill timed’ strike in the state.
TUC commended Gov. Willie Obiano for his commitment to worker’s welfare in the state.
It confirmed that the governor had always ensured that worker’s interests were always protected in all policies of government, saying that it would expect same on the ‘Pencom issue’.
“We know that Gov. Willie Obiano is workers’ friendly and will allay the fears of workers in the state soon.
“We know that the governor is trying to ensure that workers have the best in all government policies and this ‘Pencom issue’ will not be an exception.’’
He had increased worker’s salaries in the past and even had promised to effect another increase as soon as there was consensus and legal recognition to a new minimum wage when the national tripartite committee on minimum wage concluded their assignment.