Governor Alex Otti has reasserted his commitment to fulfil his earlier pledge of clearing all outstanding salary arrears for Abia state workers by December 2023.
Speaking through the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Akpara, the Governor highlighted that his administration had inherited an extensive backlog of salary arrears amounting to N50 billion from his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu, along with substantial other debts.
Akpara, who was inaugurated as a Commissioner later in the week due to his absence from the country during the initial ceremony, assured that under Governor Otti’s leadership, the punctual payment of workers’ wages would remain a foremost priority.
He reaffirmed Governor Alex Otti’s resolute determination to fulfill his campaign commitments, particularly the elimination of salary arrears owed to civil and public servants in the state by the previous administration.
“We want to reassure the people of Abia that our promise to them, ensuring that the issue of salary arrears is resolved by or before December 31, will be upheld without compromise. We will address this issue as promised.
“Pensioners will receive their dues, gratuity will be settled, salaries will be promptly disbursed, and all other rightful benefits of Abians in terms of democratic dividends will be realized.
“We ask for patience as we tackle this situation. The extent of this problem has been building up for over 24 years, so it’s not something that can be entirely resolved in just a couple of months. However, with time, the grace of God, and our determined effort, the good times will return.”
The commissioner explained that the ongoing verification and harmonization of the civil servant workforce was initiated by the Governor to accurately determine the true size of the state’s workforce.
“We arrived with a range of commitments, and one of them was to ensure the well-being of the Abia workforce. Governor Otti has abolished the distinction between core and non-core staff in the civil service. This implies that everyone is equal, and every worker should receive their rightful payment.
“To achieve this, we are currently conducting this harmonization and regularization process to guarantee that we pay those who genuinely deserve it.
“There have been instances of individuals who do not fulfil their work responsibilities but still collect their salaries. There have also been cases of fraudulent entries used to claim salaries.
“These unethical practices will not be allowed to persist. This is why our approach is rigorous – to identify and eliminate these discrepancies.
“Once this process is concluded, our operations will become smoother. Additionally, we have introduced a salary payment application system to counter the challenges encountered with the current salary payment method.
“The issues with the existing salary payment method can be attributed to the previous administration’s refusal to adopt the salary payment application,” Akpara elucidated.
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