Commissioner for Information, Abia State, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, has explained that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the state is not owing core civil servants.
The Commissioner made the explanation on Thursday in his office when members of the new Executive of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Abia State chapter paid him courtesy visit.
He said the state had paid over 60 ministries and parastatals ” up to date “.
Kalu however noted that some agencies and parastatals are still owing their staff some months of salary arrears.
He said while government had strived to defray the outstanding salaries of core civil servants, the indebted parastatals and agencies should be held responsible for the arrears of salary owed their staff.
Okiyi argued that government was not under obligation to pay the staff of the affected parastatals because the law that established them made them semi-autonomous.
He said the management of such parastatals were at liberty to hire and fire without recourse to government.
The Commissioner wondered why the management of the parastatals could not augment their subvention with their internally generated revenue.
He expressed annoyance that the managements of Abia Polytechnic Aba, as well as College of Education Technical Arochukwu could not regularly pay their staff but depend on government to fully bear their wage burden.
Okiyi said that both institutions unlike Abia State University Uturu have been indebted to their staff, and blamed their management over the development.
” ABSU is up to date with payment of salary, why is Abia Poly which receives N90 million monthly subvention is owing ?
“When Abia got the initial N14.5 billion bailout N2 billion was approved for Abia Poly to wipe off their debt yet they cannot stand on their legs.
“Imagine College of Education Technical Arochukwu that has only 500 students with 376 workers getting N28 million every month; now it wants N50 million as subvention. ”
The Commissioner called on the indebted parastatals and agencies to “cut their clothes according to their material ” , and look for ways of shoring up their IGR instead of depending solely on government.
He however appealed to the affected workers to be patient while efforts are being intensified to clear their outstanding arrears.
Okiyi congratulated the new leadership of Correspondents Chapel, and pledged to work together with them and the members.
He also pledged the commitment of the state government to partner journalists and to assist them in the discharge of their duties.
Earlier in his remarks, the new Chairman of Correspondents chapel, Comrade Obinna Ibe, expressed the willingness of his chapel to partner the state government in the efforts towards the overall development of the state.
He solicited the assistance of the state government in the fight against quackery, while assuring of the cooperation of journalists in the efforts to move the state forward.