Abia constitutes bailout disbursement committee

rochas-okorocha--• Imo claims it spent N20bn on salary arrears

To disburse the N14.152 billion bailout fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has set up a committee, just as his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, yesterday said the state has spent N20 billion on salary arrears in the last three weeks.

Ikpeazu’s disbursement committee comprises representative of the Head of Service, Chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), in the state, Auditor-General of Abia State or his representative, Accountant General or his representative, Statistician-General and Special Adviser to the Governor on Economic Affairs.

Disclosing this, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Communications, Sam Hart, said the governor directed that the fund should be disbursed as specified by the Federal Government for payment of workers’ outstanding salaries.

He gave the committee’s Terms of Reference as determination of the exact amount owed public servants, actual duration of backlogs owed workers, any other issue incidental to salary arrears and application of bailout funds for its original intendment.

Hart who recalled that the governor had said that the issue of payment of all salary arrears would be done with by end of October, however explained that the bailout fund is not free money but a loan repayable within 20-year period at low interest rate.

According to him, the governor was elated that through his administration’s Integrated Payroll Verification System, over N300 million, which was continually lost to issues of ghost workforce, padding of salaries and other underhand practices during computation of wages, was recovered or saved.

In the same vein, Okorocha, the Imo State governor, spoke during a special church service on at the Government House, Victory Chapel, Owerri, where he noted that the N20 billion was injected into the economy of the state from the bailout fund of N26.8 billion bond released to the state. He added that the payment, would pay all arrears, including the to September salaries.
But The Guardian gathered that workers had yet to receive nine-month salary arrears.

Okorocha reiterated his desire to leave the state in 2019, better than he met it in May 2011, adding that his commitment to industrialising the state was irrevocable.

He disclosed that works were in progress across the 27 Local councils of the state, while containers containing various items, were being expected to arrive.

The governor said he was carrying out those projects to lay solid foundation for the next generation.

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