Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, has directed that no force should be used on public servants to comply with the government’s new policy on agriculture which allows the public servants to work from Mondays to Wednesdays and use Thursdays and Fridays to farm.
Rochas reasoned that since the policy is a popular one and also in the overall interest of the public servants and indeed, the state, there is therefore no point using force to make them comply.
The governor, however, commended most of the public servants who have begun to comply with the new directive and added that the “Back to Land for Agriculture” programme which gave birth to the 3-days for office work and two days for farming policy is aimed at promoting agriculture and boosting the economy of the state and that of the individual families of the public servants.
Rochas disclosed that agric loan is to be provided by the state government for the workers and identity cards of participation to be issued to those of them who engage in active farming in line with the new policy.
He also reassured that the whole arrangement would not affect the salaries of workers but rather, at the end of the payment of the June and July salaries which is already in progress, the salaries of Imo workers would begin to be paid between the 20th and 26th of every month.
He also hinted that the government is negotiating for funds that would clear all the pension arrears in the state.
In view of the new policy on work-days, the permanent secretaries would as a matter of compulsion, have departmental briefings between 7.30am and 8am each day, while the list of all the civil servants in the state will be published, with about three thousand civil servants also to be recruited to replace those who had retired over the years.
The Imo State governor noted that he had expected the labour leadership in the state to support the agric programme and encourage public servants in the state to make adequate use of the opportunity offered by the new policy to improve greatly on their welfare, instead of sounding as if there is something to quarrel about over the policy.
Rochas Okorocha expresses the hope that public servants who sincerely engage in farming in line with the new policy of the government on Agriculture will never regret doing so