Wednesday, February 21, 2024
HomeNewsA’IBOM STATE GOVERNMENT LACKS MONEY TO PAY ARREARS OF GRATUITY – AKAN...

A’IBOM STATE GOVERNMENT LACKS MONEY TO PAY ARREARS OF GRATUITY – AKAN OKON

akan-okon (2)
State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akan Okon, has appealed to retirees in the state, irrespective of months or years of arrears of gratuities owed them, to exercise patience with the state government.
The Finance Commissioner insisted that Governor Udom Emmanuel is very transparent and accountable in whatever he wants to do, but that the government has to do things differently from the way it used to do during the period of abundance, so that everyone will enjoy and benefit from the current economic realities of the country.
According to him, the allocation that is meant for local government activities from bank accounts that comes to Akwa Ibom is barely enough to pay for primary school teachers who are working and the staff, not to talk of the pensioners.
Mr. Okon, who spoke recently, at an interactive session between the joint Akwa Ibom State house of assembly committees on education and labour matters and stakeholders in the education sector in response to petitions forwarded to the House by some aggrieved persons and groups over the nonpayment of their salaries and allowances by the state government, said government is prioritizing anything it wants to do now with the lean resources in its possession.
Some of the stakeholders at the meeting included retired primary school teachers, some lecturers in the College of Education, Afaha-Nsit who said their salaries and allowances were stopped in June 2013, the All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) as well as the Council of Unions in state-owned tertiary institutions among others.
It would be recalled that pensioners drawn from the 31 Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State recently took to Wellington Bassey Way in Uyo, the state capital, carrying placards with different inscriptions to indicate that they had not been paid for months.
The finance commissioner said Governor Emmanuel, upon assumption of office, paid gratuities at the local government level owed between 2002 and 2015.
He said, “The kind of governor we have today, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel is very passionate about the welfare of civil servants; the primary school teachers and all the people that are working under government.
“He resumed in May 29 (2015). In June, he made sure money was available to clear arrears of 10 years. For me, I believe that gave hope. If he could pay 10 years, what is in three years?
Okon maintained that the state is in a much challenged time where revenues have gone down as a result of the fall of prizes in the international oil market, where oil is the state’s major source of revenue.
“A situation that we used to receive, some months twenty (billion), some months thirty; and now some months we receive five billion and we have a wage bill of N4.8 billion…
“The pension, as far as the civil service is concerned, I’m sure that as far as the salaries are being paid, that your pension is also paid.
“Government is aware that, yes, this is supposed to be done. But the question is: given the available resources that we have now, can we do that? The answer is no. But the records are there. As soon as the situation improves, it will be taken care of”, he said.
Meanwhile, the State’s head of civil service, Mrs Ekereobong Akpan, has said that allowances of some principal staff were stopped after the state’s salary consultant found out in 2004 that the affected staffs were receiving allowances that they were not qualified to take.
She assured that government will not remove names from payment voucher deliberately after such persons have rendered services to the state
Earlier in his address, the chairman of the education committee of the House, and head of the Joint committee, Friday Iwok explained that the essence of the interaction was in line with the resolve of the sixth assembly to always defend the interest of the people of the state.
He said, “he House cannot overlook what affects our people”.
Iwok frowned at the attitude of some desk officers in government employ who fail to carry out their duties thereby contributing to the sufferings of retirees in the system. The lawmaker called on the Head of Service not to hesitate in sanctioning such erring staff to serve as deterrent.
After listening to explanations by the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Aniekan Akpan, Special Adviser to the governor in the Bureau of Labour and Productivity, and the provost of the state’s college of education, representative of the Rector of the State Polytechnic and representatives of the affected unions, Mr Iwok expressed gratitude to the stakeholders for honouring the invitation and assured of the readiness of the House of Assembly to find lasting solutions to the issues raised

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Jegede Olaniyi Isaac on TENSION: AKPABIO FINALLY GOES DOWN
Emmanuel Esio on ADVERTORIAL
Melville Archibong on IS ENOIDEM PART OF UDOM’S CABINET?
Inyene Anthony Archibong on QIT SHUTDOWN: NIGERIA TO LOSE N131.13BILLION
Grace Chidubem Ehimiaghe on Akparawa Ephraim Inyang: Honesty Personified
Bidiak Oduononwi on IWAUDOFIA GETS EXCELLENCE AWARD
Anietie Christopher on IWAUDOFIA GETS EXCELLENCE AWARD
Prince David Ebieme on IWAUDOFIA GETS EXCELLENCE AWARD
Obot James on PDP SHUNS PAUL EKPO