By Rita Esegine
Amid at presenting the true story about Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led Abia State Government’s track records on payment of salary in the state, the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi, has explained that payment of the new minimum wage kick started in the Abia since January 2020. He also added that the payment has been regular.
Okiyi in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja over the weekend said: “In line with the hallmark of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, administration which is transparency, the office of the Commissioner for Information, boldly wish to state that from January 2020, Abia State Government, led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, commenced payment of new minimum wage to Abia workers.
“For the records, Abia State in the entire south east region of the country, pays the highest amount per wage level and has the highest monthly wage bill.
“While many states battled to pay half or full salary to civil servants during the lockdown period occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19, Governor Ikpeazu religiously paid workers and continued with his key development projects including road construction, promotion of agriculture and SME development as well as improvement of healthcare infrastructure.
“As at today, workers in the following establishments in Abia State have received September 2020 salaries and are not owed any arrears. They are: Abia State Council of Art and Culture, Abia State Housing Corporation, Abia State House of Assembly, Abia Law Reform and Review Commission, Abia Newspapers, Abia Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, Abia State Board of Internal Revenue Service, Abia State Fire Service, Abia State Judiciary (High Court)
“ Abia State Liaison Office Abuja, Abia State Liaison Office Lagos, Abia State Library Board, Abia State Sports Council, Abia State Tourism Board, Abia State Water Board, Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), Agriculture Development Program (ADP), Agency for the Control of HIV & AIDS, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Abia State Printing and Publishing Company (Ambassador Newspaper), Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Bureau of Administration (Office of the Head of Service),
“Bureau of Common Services and Service Monitoring (HOS), Bureau of Economic Affairs, Bureau of Establishments and Pensions, Bureau of Political Affairs (Office of the SSG). Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Training (Office of the HOS), Civil Service Commission, Exco Secretariat, Government House Umuahia, Government House Political Inner Office of the HOS, Judicial Service Commission, Judiciary Customary Court of Appeal, Local Government Audit, Local Government Service Commission, Metallurgical Complex Nigeria Limited Aba & Umuahia,
“Ministries of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Agriculture, Education, Environment, Finance, Health, Homeland Security, Housing, Industry, Information, Justice, Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, LGA, Petroleum and solid Mineral, Public Utilities and Water Resources, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Special Duties and Joint Projects, Trade and Investment, Transport, Women Affairs, Works, Youth and Sports Development
“Office of Deputy Governor, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Office of the State Auditor General, Open Spaces Development Commission, Service Welfare Bureau (HOS), Special Services Bureau (SSB), Umuahia Capital Development Authority (UCDA), UNICEF-Abia RUWASSA.
Mr Okiyi who emphatically noted that the a huge chunk of Abia State’s revenue and federal allocation goes into salary payment, added that “In addition to the above, the State Government as at the time of this statement has paid subventions to Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Abia State Polytechnic (ABIAPOLY), College of Health and Management Sciences, and commenced payment to Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) in lieu of senior secondary school teachers.
“The ministry of Finance, led by Dr Aham Uko, has also worked out the dynamics to actualize the bailout of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) with the N400m (Four Hundred Million Naira Only) promised by Governor Ikpeazu, to pay workers who suffered as a result of the forced closure of schools due to COVID-19.
“The Commissioner for Finance has also hinted that irregularities were discovered in the payroll of the State Hospital Management Board (HMB), which has necessitated a review in their modalities of payment to be effected next week.
“State pensioners have been fully paid for the month along with other workers, as is the current practice, but this report does not cover those on LGA payroll including workers, LGA pensioners, primary & junior secondary school teachers who are paid by the respective LGAs.”