Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has unveiled his road map for clearing all arrears of salaries and pensions in the State, including that of parastatals.
Following pronouncements made by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu directing that payment of Workers Salaries and, Pensions, Arrears must be settled on or before the 28th day of every month, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Aham Uko has assured that issues of outstanding salaries and pensions will be tackled by the ministry in compliance with the governor’s directive to ensure prompt payment of workers’ salaries.
Dr. Uko who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen said that presently about 60 Ministries, Departments and Agencies out of 74 have received their salaries, while others will receive theirs before the close of work today.
According to him, the government has disbanded the salary committee as well as other consultancy firms managing salary payments due to incessant complaints of salary deductions by civil servants, adding that Abia government will utilize the electronic salary payment platform which would “seamlessly” pay civil servants and disburse subvention to parastatals with a view to reducing the incidences of manipulation, insertion of figures, falsifications and salary leakages.
In his words: “There won’t be any form of deductions whatsoever from anybody’s salaries and we are doing it straight from the parameters provided by the civil service commission as relates to salary payment. “We intend to upload (salaries) electronically. From next month, there will be an auto-pay system. That way, salary payment will be seamless. We are going to utilize the salary payment platform to pay civil servants to reduce incidences of manipulation, insertion of figures, all forms of falsifications and grafts will be reduced pending when we formally conduct a comprehensive enumeration. We think by the exercise, we will still reduce some leakages”.
The Commissioner disclosed that effective from this month, three Parastatals including the College of Health Technology Aba, College of Education Technical Arochukwu and the Abia State Universal Basic Education Board will be included on the list of parastatals and MDAs whose subventions will become first line charge adding that Abia State Polytechnic, having commenced the process of reform, will also receive regular and sustained monthly subventions from November this year while the recently disengaged staff from the polytechnic will be paid their entitlements from next month until it’s final liquidation. He noted that after handling these first three institutions, Abia state University Uturu ,Abia State University Teaching Hospital and Hospital Management Board would be next.
The Commissioner also stated that the Governor has ordered full implementation of the provisions of the Law on Universal Basic Education which makes it mandatory for Local Government Areas to pay salaries of teachers from Primary to Junior Secondary School while the State pays those of Senior Secondary School teachers. While informing that the Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) will start receiving regular and sustained payment of salaries from December, Uko pleaded with Abia pensioners to exercise patience with the state government as it is working out modalities to ensure regular and prompt payment of pensions.
He pointed out that the state government has constituted a committee to look into actual verification of pensioners in Abia, adding that the Ministry will soon embark on Comprehensive Physical Biometric Verification Exercise for all pensioners in the 17 LGAs of the state to get the authentic data of pensioners in the state government’s payroll.