By Ameer Obansa, Lokoja
The Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Kogi State chapter Onuh Edoka, says it is unfortunate that the state government was still battling to ascertain the actual monthly wage bill of the state more than two years after a torturous screening exercise was embarked on and is still on going.
Edoka, who was apparently reacting to a government statement that the planned table payment for next week was a call by the organized labour, regretted that the state government would try to be economical with the truth , by dishing out wrong information over its own inadequacies.
According to Edoka, who maintained that the state government does not know its wage bill looks like or sure of the activities of those preparing its wage bill, was just trying to use the table payment to now ascertain the true figures.
Edoka pointed out that the Kogi state government is only using the table payment to investigate those preparing the salaries of workers, when it discovered that the wage bill couldn’t have gone up even after a tortuous civil service reforms that has brought untold hardship on the workers.
Edoka said presently it is a common knowledge that salaries are no longer prepared by accountants in ministries and parastatals, but rather by the accountant general and auditor general, who pay from a single source from government house Lokoja.
The labour leader wondered why the state government would buy into the organized labours interrogation of why there is still an astronomical increase in the state wage bill if only it was sure of the figures it has always brandished as monthly wage bill.
Edoka maintained that it was clearly an arguement of of labour at the discussion table that the N2.8billion figures as monthly wage bill of government was on the high side after two years of screening which has led to loss jobs by thousands of the civil servants , while several others cleared are yet to be returned to the payrolls of the state , saying that labour never demanded for table payment in the first instance.
The NLC Chairman disclosed that while at the discussion, table labour engaged the government that what it inherited from the immediate past administration was N2.6billion as monthly wage bill and wondered how the wage bill would still be going up, while majority of workers have expunged from the payrolls.
The labour leader noted however that the state government was only using the table payment to ascertain its wage bill after the failed attempt in the screening exercise.
“government unsure of its figures, we interrogation them at the discussion. Labour never made a suggestion for table payment, rather we only challenged the bogus wage bill of the state which we felt was unrealistic.
” When we met at the discussion table, the government through it financial management team said they will pay three and four months salaries to core ministries and tertiary institutions respectively. We did not discusse table payment. Edoka maintained
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