In a recent statement conveyed by Mr. Mike Akpara, the Commissioner for Finance, Governor Alex Otti reaffirmed his unwavering dedication to honoring his earlier pledge to eliminate all pending salary arrears owed to Abia state employees by December 2023.
During the announcement, it was highlighted that the current administration had inherited an immense N50 billion backlog of salary arrears from the previous Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, in addition to substantial debts.
Commissioner Akpara, who assumed his role after being sworn in, emphasized that the Governor’s administration was fully committed to prioritizing timely payment of workers’ salaries under his watch. He also emphasized Governor Alex Otti’s strong determination to fulfill his campaign commitments, particularly the resolution to settle outstanding salary debts owed to civil and public servants from the previous administration.
Akpara expressed, “We are telling Abia people that the promise we made to them, saying that on or before the 31st of December, stories of the arrears of salaries will be a bygone issue, and it is going to be sacrosanct and we will deal with it as expected of us.
“Pensioners will be paid, gratuity will be paid, salaries will be paid when due, and other things that are due to Abians as pertaining to dividends of democracy will definitely come to them.
“Let’s just be patient. This rot was done in not less than 24 years, so it is not going to be something that will be freed up in the next two months.
“But with time, with God on our side, with the zeal in us, I am assuring Abia people that they will be taken care of; the good days are coming.”
The Commissioner highlighted that the governor initiated the ongoing process of verifying and streamlining the state’s workforce to accurately determine the genuine workforce of Abia state.
“We came with several manifestoes and one of them being to ensure that the Abia workforce is taken care of.
“His Excellency has abolished core and non-core staff in the civil service.
“There is no core or non-core staff anymore. What it means is that everyone is equal, and a laborer should receive his pay.
“And to that effect, we are doing this harmonization and regularisation, making sure that we pay the genuine workers.
“There are some people that do not come to work, but they collect salaries at the end of the month.
He also disclosed that the administration had introduced a Salary Payment Application (App) system to alleviate the challenges encountered with salary payments. Commissioner Akpara attributed the current payment issues to the previous administration’s reluctance to adopt this modernized payment method.
In conclusion, the Commissioner reiterated the administration’s dedication to resolving the salary arrears issue and enhancing the overall efficiency of the payment system. The Governor’s commitment remains steadfast, and the administration is resolute in its pursuit of a fair and transparent compensation structure for Abia state workers.