Abia government gives update on payment of local govt workers, pensioners, others




One of the strong points of the new government in Abia state is the desire to ensure that the pitiable and impecunious state unleashed on the people by the PDP government is wiped out without trace.

This however requires a process before the messy state that the past government left Abia is remedied.

The government has however put joy in the faces of civil servants by resumed payment of salaries which was an anathema in the last regime of governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

The PDP government so impoverished the people by withholding workers salaries for months while those in authority lived in wanton profligacy irrespective of whose ox was gored.

This led the workers and pensioners (some died for lack of welfare) to curse the party in the state never to rise again.

While the salaries payment has began and the cancelling of huge arrears incurred by the last administration in process, certain procedures must be put in place to ensure nobody is left out.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma however gave an update on the situation with payment of Pension and Salaries of LGA workers.

The summary of his submissions on these two subject matters are as follows:

“ The delay in the payment of pension stemmed from the absence of a reliable data for the payment of Abia Pensioners, hence the commencement of a verification exercise to enable government ascertain real pensioners, and differentiate them from ghost elements used to shortchange the state.

“ It’s in the interest of Genuine Pensioners that a sanitized system/template is put in place to enable for a hitch-free and sustainable process of payment of their pensions.

“The Governor though authorised the Verification Exercise, but has reasoned that waiting for the conclusion of it before commencement of payment could be harmful to the pensioners as many of them are facing severe economic and health challenges that require some funds to take care of, hence his directive that, not minding the losses that might be incurred by government, the pensioners should be paid immediately while the verification exercise continues.”

On the payment of Local Government Workers, Ferdinand Ekeoma explained that government had earlier requested the Local Government Treasurers to provide their payment schedules but “unfortunately they refused.”

The request was premised on the discovery that majority of workers in the Local Governments were being shortchanged either by way of nonpayment of their salaries or by being paid half salary at the end of every month, “Because there was no centralised and transparent payment process monitored by the state, those saddled with the responsibility of paying workers at the local government level resorted to all kinds of fraud including denial of salaries to those they do not like.”

The government also discovered that those in charge were using ghost workers to draw multiple salaries at the expense of genuine workers.

On realising that the government wasn’t going to succumb to subtle blackmail and threat of protest, the LGAs have started cooperating. The government has therefore concluded plans to start paying LGA workers by Friday 14th July 2023.

Ekeoma further explained that in spite of the messed up system left behind, Governor Otti wouldn’t want to resort to blaming previous governments in the future, hence his decision to take decisive and corrective measures at this early stage of his administration which would see to the clean-up of the corrupt system and restoration of sanity.

He reassured Abians, especially workers and pensioners that Governor Otti would keep to his promise of clearing the salary and pension arrears in record time as promised during the campaigns, hence his determination to sanitize the system so as to set a corrupt-free template and ensure sustainability in the payment process.

On security challenges facing some parts of the state, especially the prolonged cases of kidnapping at Lokponta in Umunneochi LGA, the Special Adviser explained that the state is putting measures in place geared towards collaborating with the Federal Government to ensure that the criminals are flushed out.

He also submitted that the state government is collaborating with security agencies internally to adopt a more robust approach that would help nip the activities of criminals in the bud, adding, “The government is doing a lot beyond what is public knowledge.”

On payment of Subvention to Agencies and Parastatals, Ekeoma disclosed that the State government had asked each of the affected institutions to sign an undertaken to utilise whatever Subvention released to them specifically for payment of salaries.

“While many signed this undertaken, a few others who had the intention of doing something else with their funds refused to come and take the forms.

“However, those who have not adhered to this directive are going to be compelled to do so”, he noted.

On the .alleged crisis rocking the state House of Assembly, he explained that it’s normal for those in Legislative Houses to disagree in the course of their legislative duties, and maintained that the Governor’s intervention as being suggested by some persons could only happen on request by members of the Assembly.

However, Ekeoma submitted that Governor Otti would at all times work for the peace, unity and progress of the state across party lines.




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