By Buchi Iwuji, Owerri
The Imo State Government has insisted that there is no going back on the plan to pay salary of workers in the state electronically.
Governor Hope Uzodimma sounded it loud and clear to government agencies and parastatals that payment of salaries to government workers must be by electronic means.
Briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Owerri after Executive Council Meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba reiterated that agencies and parastatals that are yet to receive their salaries were to blame for non-compliance to government guidelines to this effect.
Emelumba said despite Governor Uzodimma’s directive a few weeks ago, some parastatals and agencies had refused to comply with the directive regarding submission of their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).
The commissioner stated further that Governor Uzodimma had given such agencies and parastatals up till Monday, May 18, 2020, to comply with the government directives or risk losing their jobs.
Emelumba noted that the stance against government guidelines as regards electronic payment more than meets the eyes, adding that no responsible government would remain docile to plots to truncate government efforts on accountability and transparency.
Emelumba noted that the government had recorded further strides in the area of road construction, few days after 100 days in office as six new roads had been strategically constructed in the New Owerri axis to check the menace of flooding just as construction work on the impassable Chukwuma Nwoha road has continued to improve by the day.
On job creation, Emelumba explained that the government, through the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Skills Acquisition was training 5,000 Imo youths currently, while another 1,600 youths would soon be engaged in yet another form of skills acquisition programme.
Other issues addressed at the Exco meeting, according to the commissioner,were: improving Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the state, prosecution of any person or group of persons encroaching on government property and the banning of all forms of consultancy services for the state.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Finance, Chuck Chuckmeka pointed out that Governor Uzodimma frowned at the indiscriminate opening of accounts by agencies and parastatals, which had led to the porous purse of the state government. Chuckmeka noted that a discovery of one of such dormant bank accounts showed that Imo State Government had close to a billion naira in it.
He regretted that banks use such avenues to siphon money accruable to the government, adding that his ministry was working round the clock to plug all holes and all leakages for an improved IGR targeted at least three to four billion naira per month by 2021.
He explained that Imo State was ready to leverage on CBN’s stimulus package for health that is ready for states to tap from, which guarantees every state a maximum of ₦2.5bn or N500m as working capital for improvement of healthcare in the state.
However when our correspondent contacted the state labour chairman, Sir Austin Chilakpu, his mobile phone couldn’t be reached but workers have continued to react negatively towards the move.