The Imo State Government has introduced a policy tagged: ‘Back-to-Farm’ to enable the state engage and invest heavily in agriculture for self-sustenance since the state can no longer depend on monthly allocation for survival.
The state Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, disclosed that the ‘Back-to-Land for Agriculture’ policy of the state government would enable public servants engage in agriculture as a way of being self-reliant in business.
He said the state executive council had given approval to the new policy.
Against the backdrop of the ‘Back to Land for Agriculture’ programme, the governor directed that public servants in the state would now work from Mondays to Wednesdays, and use Thursdays and Fridays for agriculture (farming) while Saturdays can be used for ceremonies. And the directive takes effect from August 1, 2016.
However, the governor exempted public servants on essential duties like the teachers, nurses, doctors and those involved in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive. Political appointees are also exempted from the three-days working periods.
The governor added: “We shall try this programme for the period of one year, starting from August 1, 2016, and hopefully, this will help. Let me make this emphasis before it is misconstrued or misrepresented, that this does not in any way affect the salaries of the workers.
“Workers will get their full salaries as been the practice. So the policy does not mean that there will be a cut in salary rather, let us now find a way for our workers to supplement their salaries.”
Okorocha continued: “For this reason, the issue of annual leave and casual leave is hereby cancelled. Resumption time for work has changed from 8a.m. to 7.30a.m. and ends by 4p.m. Any worker not found on his or her seat between 7.30a.m. and 4p.m. on the days concerned will be summarily dismissed.
“Everybody must go back to agriculture. Every political appointee must own a farm. The youths would also be encouraged to take to agriculture. Schools including universities, polytechnics and secondary schools in the state must own farms. The Community Government Council (CGC) must be strengthened for the sake of this agricultural programme.”
“Two billion naira has been set aside at the micro-finance bank for the purpose of this ‘Back-to-Land for Agriculture” policy so that those willing can access it. And time is again when politicians and some Imolites will come to government in the pretence of farming and collect loans and use it to buy cars and marry new wives.
“I also want to announce that government has appealed to families and those who organise burials on Mondays to Wednesdays to please change and have their burials on Saturdays so that we can concentrate on the government’s work and on the agricultural programme.
“Everything that has to do with agriculture, no matter what shape it comes, government will support it. So many countries are going through economic crisis because of the fall in oil prices.
“Our nation is also going through a very difficult moment. We have taken responsibility as leaders and we are not blaming anyone. Wise nations and leaders save for the rainy days. There were periods the oil price was in our favour. But those in charge then blew the money. They made no savings. Today, the oil price globally has crashed and here we are. And we must fall back to agriculture as the panacea.”
Source: This Day