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Monday, 26 March 2018

Abia State Targets N2bn IGR, Reduce Wage Bill

The Governor of Abia State, Mr Okezie Ikpeazu, said that his administration targeted a N2 billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and about N1 billion wage bill.

Ikpeazu, who disclosed this on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, said prevalence of ghost workers had contributed to the exorbitant wage bill in the past.

He noted that the Wage bill was about 2.8 billion in 2015.

“The syndrome of ghost workers has both political and economic dimension; if you allow ghost workers, they are the people who stand under the tree and continue to say `we no go gree’.

“They are elements that should be thrown away; they are the people who do fraud with payment vouchers.

“They are people who instigate others, create all kinds of problems within the system as well as undermine whatever plan you are doing.

“We see the wage issue in Abia state from the angle of Wage Bill Management; it’s not payment of salary.

“Workers’ Wage Management means only those who are working get paid and negotiation must be with those who are working.

“But we are now trying to install devices in offices where you can clock in with your finger print and clock out because some people are not even ready to put two hours honest day job on their duty.

“A worker is entitled to his wage; is it not when he works?

“The wage bill is about N2.1 billion now and we know that it can get to N1.7 billion if we continue on this trajectory.”

The governor said that the state was utilising the Bank Verification Numbers of workers in the state to ensure that ghost workers were delisted from the payroll.

He said he had given 100 per cent of his second tranche Paris refund to workers in the state to show his commitment to reward for labour.

He also refuted claims that the state owed workers salaries, adding that the state was working to close the gaps in the salaries of Primary School Teachers.

Ikpeazu also said that his administration was working assiduously to improve the IGR of the state to complement revenue from the Federal Government for sustainable development.

“The strategy for economic development of any state today is that you must grow your IGR with your right hand and force down your overheads with your left hand.

“That is what we are trying to do.

“Our IGR is not static, it fluctuates; in my time it has gone beyond N1 billion at times and at times it has fallen below N700 million.

“It keeps fluctuating but we have arrived at a point where I think we can target N2 billion as IGR in Abia state and achieve it.

“Ultimately people believe that Abia can make N5

billion and I share that optimism but that hasn’t happened yet,’’ he said.

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