Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has received the final report on Local Government Staff and Salary verification from the Committee that was mandated to do so and vowed to implement the recommendations.
Speaking while receiving the report at the New Executive Chambers on Wednesday the Governor said the recommendations were far-reaching and point the way to an accountable and credible local government administration.
He decried the connivance between local government officials and staff that resulted in the recruitment of fake workers and padding of the payroll of the personnel, noting that the outcome of the verification has helped to streamline who the genuine workforce in the 27 local government areas of the State are.
The Governor thanked the Committee for carrying out the painstaking job, saying that with the development of a Data Bank for the LGA, the government is now better equipped to roll out programmes and plans that will benefit them.
The Governor reiterated that on assumption of office his administration discovered a lot of discrepancies in the payroll system of the State’s Civil Service and Local Government, mainly because of the absence of accurate data, hence the need for the committee’s inauguration to comprehensively verify the system.
He explained that the first report excluded the Health and Agric workers, a situation which necessitated the need for extension of the Committee’s work that brought about the final and comprehensive report that had been submitted.
The Governor expressed happiness that “the report has justified my thinking and reasoning as it is obvious that there were reckless abuse of the staff and salaries of Health workers and Agric workers all targeted at jumbo salaries of CONMESS and CONHESS.”
Submitting the report, Chairman of the Committee who is also Chairman, Imo State Local Government Service Commission, Mrs. Rosemary Izuogu said that there investigation revealed so many discrepancies, especially in the salaries and staff of health and agriculture workers in Imo State.
She emphasized that many unqualified personnel in the Councils manoeuvered their way to the departments of Health and Agriculture because of the different salary structure not minding that they were not qualified.
She however affirmed that the verification has harmonized everything.
Mrs. Izuogu said that their job was guided by laid down rules and regulations of the Civil and Public Service, noting that the verification discovered that most personnel who claimed to have enhanced their career did so illegally.
A cursory look at the summary of the report handed over to the Governor shows a loss of over N407m per annum, which when put together cost the State above N4billion for a period of 10 years within which the irregularities in the LGA nominal and payroll fraud had lasted.
The report indicated worrisome situation in some Local Governments such as Owerri North, Ihitte Uboma and Aboh Mbaise where ghost workers was absurd and staff who were supposed to have retired are still serving while some deceased ones are still in the payroll.
She concluded by saying that the verification has been able to develop a Data Bank for all the LGAs establishing their staff strength and salaries, which will help government in planning and policies.
She however thanked the Governor for the assignment and requested that the report be considered and be put to use for effective Local Government administration.
Present at the submission were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, Secretary to Government of Imo State, Chief Cosmas Iwu, Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyiehie, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. C.O.C Akaolisa, members of the Expanded Executive Council and all tge members of the Committee.