The Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, Friday, inaugurated the state public service negotiating team for the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The team was inaugurated at the Conference Room of the deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu.

Esu, who represented Ayade, expressed the willingness of his administration to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000.

“We are only here to negotiate the consequential adjustments that will affect salaries from Grade levels seven to 17. In doing that, we have carefully selected this team of technocrats and strong labour people not just from the state civil service but also from the local government for the negotiations,” he remarked.

The governor urged the team to bear in mind the state’s financial reality.

“In carrying out these negotiations, you must ensure that you think about the purse of the state. In the entire South-South zone, Cross River is the only state that does not get a penny as extra revenue coming from oil,” he added.

He advised the team “not to go ahead and negotiate what will cause us to start owing salaries, or make workers clap you that you worked so hard and at the end of the day, we are not able to pay or we begin to wait for two or three months in order to put money together to pay one month.”

Speaking on behalf of the team, the chairman of the negotiation team, Dr Chris Ita, said, “The first job has been made easy by the caliber of people that are meant to negotiate because they are knowledgeable.”

Representing labour in the team are Comrades Julius Nkoyi, John Odey, Francis Bisong, Joe Idiege and Ben Ukpebi.

Among others are Clarkson Otu, Godwin Ayendi and Eyo Nsa Eyo Itam.

Those representing the government are Ita, Commissioner for Finance, Special Adviser, the State Accountant General Joseph Adie, the Auditor General, permanent secretaries, Innocent Eteng, Emmanuel Eke and Helen Brown Ubom.

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