Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti OFR says he is engaging with stakeholders to improve on the minimum wage of the State workers to align with the present economic realities.
The Governor disclosed this during the 3rd edition of his monthly media chat held in Government House, Umuahia. According to him, the reason for adjusting the pay of the workers because of the economic realities of the nation.
“We do understand that things are a bit more difficult for the people. We are engaging with stakeholders to see how we can improve on the pay of civil servants in line with the present economic realities; where exchange rates have converged upwards and fuel subsidy has been removed and inflation is heading to 30%. We are already working to see how we can improve on not just the minimum wage but also across the line and announcement to that effect will be made in due course”
Governor Otti clarified that the recently retired Permanent Secretaries and Directors would receive arrears of salaries and their gratuities due to them. He also reassured of his commitment to defray pension arrears as earlier promised.
The Governor explained that he is not living in the Government House because his predecessor commissioned an uncompleted building while the old Government House was left in a dilapidated nature.
He stated that for the new Government House,
“My predecessor commissioned an uncompleted building. That’s a deceit of the highest order. He didn’t need to commission it. The question to ask is , construction started with the administration of T.A Orji, why didn’t they complete it and move into it? But he waited until the twilight of his administration. When we went to inspect it, we found out that he did a fantastic job on the ground floor. It was finished well but of course it had no bedrooms. Bedrooms were on the upper floors. The upper floors was not touched in fact , the second floor was not even plastered, so why commission? So I looked at it and found that it was not ready for occupation.The whole environment was also not ready to receive a Governor. The office block has been abandoned for several years. So that place was not a place anybody could live”
For the old Government House, the Governor explained that,
“Now, I came back here and also found out that the Governor’s lodge and Governor’s office were also in dilapidated state. I made an attempt, I sent some government engineers, valuers and they came with an estimated bill for the office alone, over 550 million. I looked at it and said, if I have 550 million , I will deploy it to other sectors, I took decision to operate from my house while I take the renovations one by one as the State finances would carry.”
On the issue of alleged spending of nine hundred and twenty seven million naira on food by his government in the third quarter, Governor Otti said that there is no truth in the allegations as it is unfounded and a hatched man’s job of individuals who are intimidated by the numerous reforms ongoing in various sectors of the State economy,
“There is nothing like that. It was a hatched man’s job, done for a particular purpose. The truth about the matter is that it was falsehood. The actual number has been clarified and I really don’t think it is something to decipate energy over. One thing I have to say is that our government is very prudent, prudent in the way it manages the resources of the State ensuring that the State gets value for money and it would be antithetical to reason that this same government that has been virtually working with empty hand, riding on goodwill would turn round and become profligate, not under my watch ” Governor Otti assured.
Divine Nwankwo, Asst. Head of Information/Press, Government House, Umuahia, reporting.