• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Abia saves N160m from ghost workers

targets N1.6bn IGR per month

Abia State government says it has so far saved N160 million from the ongoing staff verification exercise geared towards eliminating ghost workers from the state public service.

This is also as the state is targeting N1.5 billion monthly internally generated revenue (IGR) to boost its federal allocation.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in a reaction to the staff verification exercise, said his administration would continue with the exercise until the anomaly was corrected and the culprits fished out.

He urged those involved in the act to desist from it or face the consequences, when apprehended.

“Even as we are ready to pay salaries month in month out, I will insist that those who are the real workers that I can shake their hands should cooperate and collaborate with government to fish out those workers that I cannot shake their hands, called ghost workers.

“It doesn’t make sense that the working population, which is about 5 percent of the entire population of people in Abia, consumes 95 percent of Abia income, while market women and other artisans, who also pay tax cannot get basic infrastructure, because all we wake up to do is pay salary and go back to sleep.

“And even as I speak, the biometric verification exercise of workers will be an ongoing thing. This is an opportunity to call on those involved in this to turn a new leaf, because if anybody is fished out to be involved in ghost workers syndrome, misappropriation of peoples’ salaries, will be treated as enemies of the state, because they have held Abia down for so long.

“Some people are in this racket, it has become their business and even as we speak they are looking for ways to cut corners. But I want to declare to them that the game is up, because I will keep at it and make sure I put a final stop to the anomaly,” the governor said.

There will be a re-orientation of the state civil service, to bring about a new way of thinking within the system, he said.

According to the governor, massive re-orientation programme will help identify those capable and determined to work, while those who cannot keep pace with what is happening will drop by the way side.

On the state’s IGR, he said it was currently hovering between N300 million and N600 million per month, but affirmed his administration’s determination to increase it to N1.6 billion per month.

“If we can deliver on roads and essential infrastructure, we know that our people will pay tax. If they see that the money they are paying is working for them, they will willingly pay, “he said.