The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle, says the management of the Agency is conscious of the reality of the prevailing times and is ever determined to give succour to its members of staff where possible.
Ponle said this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja while reacting to a letter from the Joint Union of the Agency giving the management a seven-day ultimatum to provide rice as Christmas gift for workers, among others.
“Unfortunately, management’s inability to provide immediate relief to cushion the adverse effects of the prevailing economic situation gives the impression that management is rather aloof and uncaring. That is untrue.
“In view of the letter received from the Joint Union, management is setting up a joint Management-Union Committee to peruse the agency’s funds and finances and recommend ways to meet the expectations of union members.
“I hope at the end of the exercise we would have an amicable resolution of all the issues raised.
” Rest assured that management will support recommendations that will enhance staff welfare, for as long as it is reasonable and practical,” the managing director said.
Ponle added: “Immediately I assumed office in September 2020, my priority was to assiduously work to improve the welfare of members of staff.
“This was especially in the area of welfare package and review of the NAN Act.
“Although this has not yielded fruition, rigorous efforts are ongoing to make it a reality.
” In all modesty, we have been able to provide enhanced welfare in staff training, supply of equipment, office renovation, and the yearly promotion of deserving officers with full benefits paid.
” Management had consistently interfaced with the unions on the imperative of adequate funding of the Agency to meet its mandates and varied obligations” he further said.
According to him, the joint unions of the agency have always been carried along through hybrid meetings and consultations while workers are briefed periodically on issues and concerns in the Agency.
” For instance, three foreign offices in Ethiopia , South Africa, and Cote D’ivoire are slated for reopening while the six-zonal structure will be increased to 12 in 2023.
” If we have not been able to meet certain obligations in recent times, it is not deliberate as we are still awaiting releases of monthly subvention,” he said.
He urged members of staff to always explore peaceful arbitration and resolutions of issues rather than resort to threats.