-As govt, workers engage in claims and counter claims on payment
Amidst the challenges posed by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, anger, anguish and confusion now stalk the land of Imo as Imo workers groan under the heavy weight of allege unpaid salary arrears.
Reports filtering from our sources close to civil service indicate that over 80% of the workforce in the state are owed over three month’s salary up to June. Some of the workers who were interviewed by our reporters explained that they have embarked on fasting seeking the intervention of God.
Confusion however appears to envelope the situation making it difficult to ascertain the actual reason why the workers were yet to be paid. Government sources have continued to indicate that monies are available to pay the workers.
The Finance Commissioner was reported to have said that the failure of some heads of units to provide the required information like the BVN of the workers among other information is the cause of the delay. In another breath, according to a report from an Owerri based tabloid (not Edge Express), the Commissioner was reported again to have stated that the absence of the governor is the reason for non-payment.
The confusion is further deepened by the claims and counter claims of some leaders in some of the agencies of government. For instance in the state legislature, sources close to parliamentarians allege that they are crying over non-payment of two months arrears of emoluments.
While the Speaker in a statement was reported to have given the government a clean bill of non-indebtedness against the house, some outspoken legislators like Hon Arthur Egwim (Ideato North) and others have risen in protest to counter the Speaker’s claim.
Imo pensioners within two weeks have taken to the street twice to protest non-payment of four months arrears upon which in the first action they were promised a June 26 date by the Secretary to Imo Government. The Information Commissioner, Declan Emelumba however, denied that the government ever made such promise.
Speaking to Edge Express two civil servants, a primary school teacher and a local government staff who chose to speak under condition of anonymity decried the situation and accused the government of insincerity.
Questioning the reporter, they asked, ”if they have discovered 2bn saved from ghost workers, if they are telling us that 60% of the pensioners are also ghosts pensioners, meaning they have concluded verifications, why are they still owing those verified”, they chorused simultaneously.
Meanwhile the Imo economy described as government driven because of its reliance on civil service income has gone comatose. With spiralling prices of food stuffs in the wake of the COVID-19, traders, contractors etc are also complaining of low activities. Injection of money is required to lubricate the system and this is the reason government needs to respond to this onerous responsibility.