Akwa Ibom State Government has cleared the air on misconception following delay in payment of salaries and other entitlements to its workforce.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Elder Nse Ekefre who gave the explanation while interacting with executive members of NLC /TUC Youth wing who called on him in his office said, that the welfare of public servants remain top priority of government.
On the payment of 7.5 % pension fund, the Permanent Secretary stated that government was collaborating with labour leaders through a committee headed by the Head of Service to fashion out ways to fast-tract the payment process .
He also attributed the delay to collation and harmonization of staff records occasioned by redeployments as well as IPSAS rudiment which a lot of account staff are yet to be conversant with. He expressed optimism that with the IPSAS training programme underway,the teething problem would soon fizzle out.
On the 2014 leave grant, Elder Ekefre assured that his ministry was already working out schedule for payment which would hopefully reflect on the October salary, and called for patience and understanding .
The Permanent Secretary used the medium to thanked Governor Godswill Akpabio for establishing a perfect payroll system through the biometric mechanism which he said has yielded tremendous dividends especially the significant reduction in personnel cost.
Buttressing the facts, the Director Funds Monitoring Department of the Ministry ,Elder Friday Udoh pointed out that contrary to the general notion, salary delay is caused by failure of different offices to submit their vouchers on time as payment is on first come first serve basis.
Elder Udoh noted that some offices were still submitting salary vouchers for the month of August which State government had already been settled a fortnight ago, describing the trend as counter-productive to the good intensions of the government. He added that appropriate sanctions would be issued to erring offices,while calling on Labour union to help in monitoring the accounts sections of MDAs on this issue.
Earlier, the President of the youth wing of NLC /TUC Akwa lbom state council, comrade Joseph John who led the team on the visit said they were on a fact finding mission as workers have been eager to know the outcome of the 7.5 % pension fund, thanking the Permanent Permanent for taking time to clarify issues.
Comrade John who noted that the constitution of their youth wing was to serve as what he termed ” eagle eyes ” to watch over activities of government employees,lauded the Permanent Secretary for his sterling leadership qualities in the ministry as well as his humanitarian gestures in the state.
Highpoint of the visit was presentation of award in recognition of his contributions to human empowerment in the state civil service.
Also present during the visit were the directors of debt management, mr Eshiet lkpe, that of admin, Mrs. Stella Etukakpan, and Mr. Effiong Umoumoh of the Account department.