By John Okiyi Kalu
Mr Obinna Oriaku is the Commissioner for Finance in Abia State. He made the following assertions concerning the payment of salary situation in the state and I challenge us to verify and revert
1. I don’t know how many of us have come to know that our civil servants are in love with that figure Six. They love saying they are being owed six months outstanding salaries .
2. For clarity, by Tuesday our MDA would be paid December salary which will mean we have outstanding of January though we will still be in January.
3. How many of us know that our primary school teachers have received 3 months salary since December 6th till today? By Thursday they will get another one making it four months from December till January.
4. The truth is that it is very unfair to owe but we can’t help it in this current economic circumstances.
5. Last week we got N1.6b for JAAC being total allocation to the local Government. Local Govt have three statutory obligation based on the constitution . They are local Govt workers salary . Primary school teachers and local govt pension. If we N800m for local govt workers. 700m (until late last month when we did physical hand over of cheques and discovered 136 “dead” or absconded being paid) now 650m and Local government pension 300m. It gives you 1.7b which means we must borrow to pay all these layers not minding other statutory payments that must be accommodated.
6. Unless you borrow from banks, which is very difficult now even among banks . Besides there are other statutory payments that must go in.
You can clearly see why you have some months outstanding as salaries.
7. This analysis also affects the state . However we discovered recently that some evil ones want to paint a picture as if we deliberately decided not to pay as at when due even when they know our situation. What we are doing is what DJ Trump will do if he is from here, which is cutting cost and pruning down our wage bill .
8. About 380 people where discovered to have entered the service with fake certificates . This figures are just for 5 local govts which are Umuahia North and south. Aba North and south and Osisioma.
9. The state engaged a consultant who wrote to Waec and the schools attended; the outcome is what you are seeing. Other local govt will soon following suit but already our opponents are already reporting falsely that we are “retrenching” workers. There is no politics here as this findings can be verified. It will get to all .
10. The sanctions are following immediately, for instance those that made the state to be paying 136 dead or ghost people will be made to pay for it .
11. We know it’s deliberate. The Auditor general of local govt is investigating those involved in this scam.
12. A lot is happening and being discovered but let’s ‘ highlight the positives of Govt efforts. It got so bad last week with many online stories that I had to engage my fellow commissioners to know if we are the only state owing. Benue is owning 5 months. Ondo 5. Ekiti 5. Imo is paying 70% but still owing . Ebonyi is not owing much but total wage bill is 1.1b whereas ours was 3.3b but now 2 .2b against 2.7b allocation . It’s not easy to navigate through these but on a good note IGR is stabilising. Last month was N1.1 but we can do more.
13. I don’t like when we generalize things like Abiapoly, ABSU and College of health salary situations. For me I don’t take those stories . I will like to state that we don’t pay salaries to those institutions since they are income generating; we only subvent them just like we do for ABSU.
14. The implication is that those schools mentioned above generate revenue which they use for their salaries and day to day mgt of schools.
16. With regards to Collage of health, they were paid four months last week we can’t still have 8 months outstanding as bandied.
17. With reference to Abia poly, when Prof ikonne was there we did an analysis of of the school fees and student population. With 15.000 student population we expect the total school fees to average about 1.8b if they insist on enforcement and stop cash collection of fees . The wage bill then was 150m . it means we need to subvent with only 300m outside other over head .
18. However it has not worked. Sept 2015 to June last yr they collected only 900m but was still owning many months and we kept asking what they did with the money collected as fees . Last week they were paid 2 months among other things, so there is no 8 months outstanding.
19. ABSUTH This institution is also among those being subvented
They were on strike when we came in and called off on receipt of nine months . We know it should be a referral center but we expect some level of efficiency in their operations. We suggested automation to eliminate cash handling . Till date nothing in that regards. We also discovered serious fruad in the computation of their wage bill .A strange computation was employed by the school unknown to any institution in the country. This salary structure made the head of administration to be earning 500k well above most medical officers. These and others have stopped.
20. We set up a committee to visit sister hospitals to harmonise what should be the correct structure of salary which averages 170m monthly. The labour leaders have refused to sit down and conclude after visiting ESUT teaching hospital, imo and Anambra. We also have politicians there instead of doctors.
21. Last week ABSUTH payment was sent to their bank but they are insisting on continuing with the old salary structure which we said NO. That is why you hear 6 months and 8months . It’s another school we must take serious and redeem it from dying.
22. ABSU should fall into this category but because of focused leadership even when the subvention is not coming they are up to date with salary . Let others go there and learn. Non blackmail or intimidation will stop the government from changing these things for the good of Abians.
-Honorable Obinna Oriaku, Commissioner for Finance