Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu yesterday assured the state workforce that he had not changed his position on the need to pay their salaries promptly, saying that he was making concerted effort to improve on their working environment and welfare, including emoluments, pensions and gratuities.
He gave the reassuring words while addressing workers at the ceremony to mark this year’s May Day held at the ground of Ibeku High School amidst the harsh economic condition in the country.
But Ikpeazu was quick to remind the workers that they have a lot to do to assist government to cater for their welfare by giving their best, noting that they must key into the ongoing war against ghost worker syndrome, pensions reform and the public finance restructuring exercise embarked upon by his administration.
He said the policies aimed at reforming the system adopted by his administration since inception were for the good of the workforce as “endemic ills prevent the authentic workers from getting what is due for them and also retard the progress of the public service.”
Ikpeazu told the workers that there was no way they could be absolved from blame in contributing to the problem facing them, saying that if they were doing the right things government should hire a consultant to check the ghost worker syndrome.
He said corruption in the system has become so pervasive that even though the pension funds were managed by workers, yet pensioners were still having problem accessing their pensions after retirement.
Earlier in his address the chairman of the state council of the NLC, Comrade Obi Igwe, made passionate appeal to the governor to clear the arrears of salaries of workers in the state to cushion the harsh economic realities.
He said the governor should not renege on his promise to pay Abia workers their salaries regularly and commend him for the judicious use of the bail out fund.
However the NLC chairman pointed out that the issue of implementing CONHESS and CONMESS in local government areas, Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) Health Management Board (HMB) and social welfare officers has remained unresolved.