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Abia State civil servants are in for a good time as the state Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, has reiterated his promise that government will begin payment of salary arrears owed workers by the previous administration by the end of June.
The Eastern Updates reports that the immediate past government was owing civil servants in the state for upwards of 30 months’ salary arrears.
The Governor spoke on Saturday in Umuahia, capital of Abia, when he addressed guests at a thanksgiving reception held in honour of newly inaugurated National Assembly member, Hon. Obi Aguocha, representing Ikwuano-Umuahia Federal Constituency.
He put the total indebtedness left behind by the previous administration, ‘at the last count’, at over N200 billion, saying it is a debt the state has to pay.
‘I must assure you that we will deal with them. By the end of this month we would start paying confirmed salary arrears.
‘You also know that a lot of our elderly people, who have retired, have been owed several years of pension arrears. We promised during our campaign that we were going to defray the arrears. We will start as soon as possible.
‘What is holding us is that we also found out that there is a lot of fictitious figures and numbers that cannot be confirmed,’ the Governor explained.
Otti said his government has embarked on proper verification of workers in the state civil service prior to the commencement of payment of the outstanding salaries.
‘So we have started with the forensic audit to ensure that we will be paying the right people. We plead with you to exercise patience and understand with us as we work to make Abia State a better place,’ the Governor appealed.
Speaking earlier, Hon. Aguocha thanked Dr. Otti for making it possible for him to emerge as the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) and going forward to win the National Assembly seat.