Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, has expressed dismay at the huge debt burden amounting to about N400 million owed by the State Transport Company (Delta Line).
Okowa made the remark on Monday in Asaba when workers of the company under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service, Recreational and Technical Service Employees (AUPCTRE) visited him.
He said that it was disheartening that the situation had led to non-payment workers’ salaries for more than six months.
He said that his administration was committed to prudent management of the resources of the state for the benefits of the people.
“I will not deliberately ask that workers should be owed salaries; I will not deliberately say workers should not be paid.
“But to say that the company is indebted to banks to the tune of about N400 million is sad.
“It is unfortunate that workers of Delta Line have not been paid their salaries for six months,” Okowa said.
The governor noted that since Delta Line is a commercial entity, monies generated by the company were expected to be ploughed back into the business.
He said that it was unfortunate that in spite of the intervention of the government in the provision of vehicles, the management could not keep the company afloat.
Okowa commended the union for opting for dialogue and promised that appropriate actions would be taken to remedy the situation.
He urged the workers to be patient, saying that he had constituted a panel to find out why the management could not effectively run the company.
Earlier, Mr David Ofoeyeno, Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Delta chapter, had told the governor that though the issue (non payment of workers salaries) was urgent, organised labour was committed to exhausting peaceful approach to resolving it.
The State Chairman of AUPCTRE, Mr Jerry Okousun, expressed regret that workers of the company were owed six months’ salaries.
He appealed to the governor to intervene as more than 700 workers on the pay role of the Delta Line were going through difficult times as a result of their unpaid salaries.