The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State has said it would support the initiatives being taken by the state government to tackle the menace of over-bloated wage bill in its work force.
Already, the state government has resolved to go after perpetrators of the heinous act in the state.
The ruling party, in a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Samuel Agbo, and made available to Daily Sun, on Thursday, urged the state government to look in the direction of leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as the real ghost owners who must face the wrath of the law for the pains they have inflicted on the people over the years.
The APC while reacting to media reports credited to the main opposition party in the state insisted that the state government planned to sack some of its workers insisted that the reports were deliberately intended to incite the Benue workers and consequently the electorates against the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom.
According to Agbo, “This strategy has become the trade mark of the opposition since it lost favor with the people in 2015 and is desperate to return to power so as to continue with looting and plunder which characterized its tenure in office.
“Despite the fact that the opposition frittered its goodwill and brought the state to its kneels, it is using looted funds to try to hoodwink the people to forget the hardship it foisted on them over the years leading to much of the current economic challenges.
More so, they are making desperate efforts to resist change and efforts to weed out the corruption it had entrenched in the system as a booby trap to undermine the success of the Ortom-led administration.”
Agbo who noted that the genuine facts of the matter were different from the picture which the reported interview sought to paint, posited that when Governor Ortom met with major stakeholders in the state on November 20, 2017 where he outlined steps initiated to permanently sort out the salary payment challenged the sack of genuine workers was not on the cards.
He explained that areas for consideration for further reduction of the Benue State wage bill from the current N7.8 billion to N4.5 billion included disengagement of all contract staff, supervised table payment, placement on medical students on scholarship rather than salary, preparation of salaries by the office of the Head of Service to be supervised by the Finance Ministry as is the practice elsewhere, and the bringing of salary structure of tertiary institutions to be at par with those in order states.
Other measures, he stated, included the screening of state and local government pensioners, disengagement of idle former staff of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, introduction of automated staff attendance registers, payment of only allowances backed by establishment circulars and removal of Staff with bad records and those medically unfit.
He said further that the merger of some educational institutions, deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), best practices to tackle wage and internally generated revenue challenges, and the flushing out of illegally employed and ghost workers as well as percentage reduction of salaries were also listed among the measures.
“From the forgoing, genuine workers on the payroll are under no threat whatsoever.
“The interview from the opposition indicates clearly that its members are owners of the cartel feeding fat on the over-bloated wage bill at the detriment of the genuine workers. This fact is further underscored by deliberate falsehood and claims in the figures quoted to shamelessly justify the mischief,” Agbo said.