The Kogi State Government has attributed current economic crunch facing the State to draining of the treasury by at least 8,879 ghost workers recently discovered by the Staff Verification Exercise Committee set up by Governor Yahya Bello.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Petra Akinti Onyegbule, said the exercise now saves the state billions of naira as 8,879 ghost workers were removed from the payroll. These numbers ensure the state’s books are firmly in the red even before anything gets done.
Expressing disappointment over threats arose from financial mismanagement by past administrations in State, Onyebgule disclosed that the committee was tasked to plug the leakages in the system by sanitizing government’s payroll and ridding it of ghost workers and redundancies.
He noted that the verification exercise which was resisted by some individuals has succeeded in identify real workforce currently numbered 88,973 at state and local government level.
He added that “gradually, we are making progress. It may be slow and painstaking, but the outcome will be fair to all concerned. While at it, government continues to ensure payment of entitlements to its genuine workers.”
He assured the affected staff with genuine complain of prompt attention and continuous payment of entitlements and salaries to workers.
“This is not to discountenance the concerns of genuinely aggrieved workers who have been affected by the exercise.
“This level of sleaze is what some fellow Kogites had gotten used to over time and under previous administrations, and it goes to explain the absolute lack of infrastructure in the state, even as public debts and obligations kept mounting. And here was this young governor attempting to expose all of that monthly ritual, and put an end to it. No one expected the payroll cabal would go down without a fight, so we were prepared for them from the get go.
“Equally significant is the pace of infrastructural development ongoing in countless parts of the state. As government plugs drains in the system, it is also working hard at expanding its revenue base. The significant savings arising from the painful but necessary payroll reforms, plus government earnings from other sources are all coming together to help transform the state into one big construction site, and for the benefit of all Kogites.
“Staff verification is known to have taken much longer elsewhere, but there seems to be something about Yahaya Bello’s Kogi that gets people talking all the time, even when the chatter is unwarranted. The governor’s determination to be thorough about the exercise, rather than pay mere lip service to it and achieve little or nothing in the end, sets him apart from the others. His mantra is that, whatever happens, no genuine worker will be sacked. And God willing, the outcome of the exercise will endure integrity tests. And this is why an Appeal Panel was set to ensure that every worker who has not been cleared is given a final opportunity to do so,” he says.