The Abia State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Mike Akpara, has assured civil servants in the state that all the backlog of salary arrears and pensions will be cleared before December 31, 2023.
The commissioner who spoke in a chat with selected journalists in Umuahia, the state capital, on Sunday said Governor Alex Otti’s administration would leave no stone unturned in fulfilling all her campaign promises to Abia residents.
He pointed out that the ongoing verification of civil servants in the state was geared towards ensuring that government workers and retirees receive their salaries and pensions as and when due.
He insisted that the exercise which is already yielding results, would bring the ‘ghost workers’ syndrome in the civil service to an end when completed.
“We urge Abians to be patient with us because we are already making progress with the verification; pensions, gratuity, and salaries will be paid as and when due, and other things that pertain to the dividends of democracy will get to the people,” he said.
Akpara posited that Otti, ventured into politics because he believed that Abia must experience a change and he is determined to bring visible changes in governance.
He said, “For over eight years we fought the political battle to liberate Abia with our principal and to God be the glory we were able to capture the seat of power.
“But for us it’s not just about capturing the seat of power because they said to whom much is given, much is expected and the reward for hard work is more work. We came into government with several manifestoes and one of them is that the workforce of Abia State must be taken care of, the governor has abolished the era of core and non-core civil servants.
“The workers must receive their salaries as at and when due. That is why we are doing the regularization and harmonization of civil servants making sure that we pay the genuine workers.
“We are telling the Abia people that the promise we made to them concerning paying all arrears of salary on or before December 31, 2023, remains sacrosanct. Things will definitely change in the State in terms of infrastructure, health and education.
“As we speak it seems that the only functional public health institution in the State is the federal medical centre Umuahia all the other government general hospitals in Aba, Okpuala Ngwa, Arochukwu and others are all gone. But we are promising Abians that we will bring that hospital back to life.
“We are urging Abians to be patient with us, as we work hard to rewrite the wrongs that were done in 24 years, it can’t be cleaned up within two months, but with time and God on our side and our determination, I’m assuring Abians that help is here at last. The point is that Rome was not built in a day.
“The people managing the payment app we are using now said they had advised the previous administration to use the app but they refused because people were hiding certain things. That’s why we have said that we must remove all those ghost workers from the system.
“They are some people that don’t come to work but they collect salary, some people put fictitious name to collect salary, but it will not continue again. That is why we are taking the pain to do the verification and as soon as we are done, things will take a new shape.”