The Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has said that it is a sin for any employer of labour particularly government to owe workers salaries in a time of recession the country is in now.
Obiano said this during the commencement of the Anambra State Fire and Safety Summit in Awka on Wednesday.
He said payment of workers’ salaries would energise the economy in a recession and make life more meaningful for the people.
The governor, who expressed fear that the dollar would continue to rise against the naira, said it would take no fewer than 18 months for the economic downturn in the country to subside.
He said, “A state that does not pay its workers is inviting calamity. Payment of workers’ salaries energises the economy.
“We saw this recession early and made agriculture one of the pillars of our administration.
This is why we have been paying our workers. It is wicked to owe workers at a time like this.
“People should embrace risk management. That is the solution to disaster, especially in a recession.
“No recession lasts less than 18 months, so we need to wake up. The naira is moving to N500 per dollar.
“We need to secure our certificates and other valuables of ours so that nothing will happen to them overnight. That’s the way to survive in a recession.”
He said his administration foresaw the trouble and embarked on preemptive measures such as investment in agriculture.
Obiano posited that risk management was the solution to economic recession.
He called on Nigerians to develop the culture of insuring their lives and property, arguing that it was one sure way of mitigating the adverse effects of disasters whenever they would occur.
The governor, however, observed that the people of the South-East geopolitical zone had not been paying attention to insurance.
He added that that was why they were usually the worse hit whenever disasters occurred.
He said that his administration had acquired 10 sophisticated modern fire-fighting trucks to boost the activities of the state fire service
The governor advised that rather than approach government for assistance whenever disaster occurred, the people should form the habit of taking insurance policies.
“My expectation is that our people will be better informed about disaster and its management after listening to the various speakers at this summit,” the governor said.
The Executive Secretary of the Anambra State Emergency Management Agency, Chief Paul Odenigbo, whose office collaborated with the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria to organise the summit, said fire accidents, building collapse and flooding in the state had been given the state government concern.
He said that from an emergency management perspective, a high population density state such as Anambra State was prone to disaster.
Odenigbo, therefore, urged the people to always be proactive.
The President of IPSON, Dr. Nnamdi Ilodiuba, said that over the years, the state had witnessed numerous incidents of safety concerns.
He noted that statistics showed that hardly would a year pass without cases of fire outbreak in major markets and business centres in the state.
Ilodiuba said, “We are saddened by the fact that these incidents could very well have been prevented had there been some degree of basic safety consciousness and awareness among the populace.
“The way forward is by bringing about a change in the knowledge and attitude of the citizens, particularly in the area of safety.”
He explained that in view of the seriousness the state government attached to safety, ISPON had chosen the state as the venue for its 2016 annual international conference and exhibition in November.