By Nnamdi Mbawike, Enugu
Enugu State Government has discovered and weeded out 6,280 ghost workers and pensioners from the nominal rolls of local governments councils and its Pensions Board.
Part of the discovery was fallout of the Committee that recently disbursed the first tranche of the Paris Club Refund, which was used to offset all the outstanding salaries and some pensions of Local Government workers and retirees respectively, totaling 3,462 ghost pensioners.
It would be recalled that a Committee headed by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi, had discovered 2,818 ghost workers in the nominal roll of Local Government staff.
Briefing journalists after the meeting of the State Executive Council, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, disclosed that the Council “authorized the Commissioner for Local Government Matters, Mr. Chijioke Edeoga, to hand over the verified names as the master list of workers and pensioners to concerned Local Councils, LG commission and Pension Board”.
Mr. Anikwe said that the state’s Accountant General, Sir Paschal Okolie briefed the Council and announced that “the Enugu State government has grown its internally generated revenue (IGR) to 35% of her total revenue”.
The Information Commissioner added that “Okolie who was addressing top government functionaries at a mid-year budget review at the weekend said that the half year revenue receipts of N12.4billion almost equaled federal statutory allocation of N13.5billion within the period.
“He described this as a remarkable achievement on the part of revenue collection agencies in the state for the period, considering that the total IGR receipts for 2016 was N14.2billion”.
According to the Commissioner, “the impact of this performance is already being felt by Enugu State public sector workers who are promptly paid their salaries on the 25th day of each month, as well as pensioners and non-permanent workers who are being promptly paid, the accountant-general said”.
Mr. Anikwe, further stated that the Accountant General also announced that “the State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has further directed that all civil servants in the state be paid promptly on the 23rd day of each month, and that this directive has been complied with”, saying that “apart from this, capital projects are being executed across the state in massive proportion as if we are in oil boom.”
Mr. Okolie, according to the Information Commissioner, explained that the renewed commitment to transparency and creativity is being promoted by Gov. Ugwuanyi’s “prudent, transparent and accountable” leadership and “we are working on every aspect of internally generated revenue leakages in order to close the gap the shortfall in statutory allocation may create”.
The Commissioner equally told journalists that “during the State Executive Council Meeting at the weekend, Gov. Ugwuanyi commended the Chairman of Enugu State Internal Revenue Service, Chief Emeka Odo, for his creativity, hard work and commitment which has led to recovery of massive stolen funds by unscrupulous public officers colluding with corrupt commercial bank officials to defraud the state to the tune of billions of Naira”.