Following the inability of Governor Hope Uzodinma to clearly pay pensioners normal allowances as at when due warranting constant protests from the retirees, the Imo State Government has said that it is not broke to undertake financial responsibilities.
There have been feelers in the state that the Uzodinma administration may be experiencing cash crunch hence its inability to meet up with regular payments of salaries and pensions.
Owerri, the Imo State capital has been enveloped with protests coming from workers and pensioners angle.
While the pensioners have on two occasions embarked on protest march on Owerri streets over non- payment of entitlements, many categories of worker either failed to received their salaries or had their salaries slashed.
The development, according to Trumpeta findings elicited fears that the economy of the state is in red even as the governor had earlier claimed of saving about N2b from ghost workers found in the system and increased Internal Generated Revenue, (IGR) since he came in.
Giving a clearer view of the situation was the State Finance Commissioner, Mr Chucks Chukwuemeka who said that paucity of fund is far from the causes of the complaints.
According to him while offering reasons for the development, the state is financially buoyant and ready to meet with the demands of payment to all categories of workers including pensioners.
Explaining further, the Finance Commissioner said that heads of parastatals affected by the non-payment are to be held responsible for any anomaly noticed and not the state government because there is money to pay.
He said that what government demanded from the Heads of Parastatals as requirement before payments have not been submitted insisting that the state is every ready to pay.
“In the case of salaries, we noticed that in the past where subvention was given, a lot of fraud exist in the system hence government asked for salary bill and over head cost to pay direct.
But some Heads of Parastatals refused to abide by these new measure from the government resulting to non payment to their agencies. We are working to rectify the noticeable cases and those affected will receive their payments” he added.
On the issue of pensioners, the Commissioner said that government is tackling the challenges because of inconsistency of the past. “There were discoveries related to fraud and the correction is ongoing to ensure all eligible pensioners are paid as at when due.
“It is not about no money, what we are doing is to sanitize the system so that at the end of every month, both workers and pensioners receive their salaries without much ado. What the governor is doing is to save and perfect the system to pay for minimum wage” he concluded.