Governor Hope Uzodimma has accepted to bear the cost of medical treatment of all workers in Imo State as part of government’s efforts to ensure that the civil servants are positioned to do their work well.
That is not all. The Governor has also assured the civil servants who are due for promotion to brace up for it as his government will soon unveil their names.
Besides, the shortfall in the number of teachers required by the Imo State Education Management Board (SEMB) will soon be a thing of the past as Governor Uzodimma has promised to engage more teachers.
The free Social Health Insurance Scheme for more than 47,000 Imo State civil servants, the plan to elevate those of them due for promotion among others, were the highpoints of a town hall meeting between Governor Uzodimma and top management staff of the Imo State workforce on Tuesday.
The meeting which was at the instance of the Governor involved Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Ministries, Heads of Parastatals, Chairman of Imo State Internal Revenue Service and the General Manager of Imo Data Centre.
It was also an opportunity for the Governor, the heads of ministries, departments and agencies of government, to review complaints by workers about non- payment of salary and how to foster a better working relationship between workers and political appointees in the interest of the State.
When the Governor was informed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Success Prosper-Ohayagha that it will cost the State Government about N500million annually to pay for medical services for all verified workers in Imo State under the Social Health Insurance Scheme, Governor Uzodimma told him to consider it done, a promise that attracted instant thunderous jubilation at the Sam Mbakwe Executive Chambers, venue of the meeting.
The Governor had directed the Commissioner for Health and the General Manager of Imo State Social Health Insurance Scheme to immediately commence the process of getting all verified workers into the net for the free medical scheme.
By the free medical service, verified workers in Imo – both at the State and Local Government – are to get treated of any kind of ailment in the government or designated private hospitals, except those not listed in the Scheme.
Also, after taking contributions from top civil servants on why their promotion is delayed, Governor Uzodimma assured that the matter is already being attended to and that the list will soon be unveiled.
He said the economic realities of the moment and the need to bring back the dignity of labour in our civil servants make it compelling that their welfare is taken a notch higher.
Governor Uzodimma used the opportunity to brief the top civil servants on why some of their personnel have issues with their salary.
He obliged them with records indicating that some civil servants have continued to compromise the Data Centre payroll system, by earning pay either as retired, absconded, ghost or deceased workers.
Governor Uzodimma said “civil servants without discrepancies are paid regularly” and regretted that records from Data Centre showed that 1,593 persons receive salary as retired, absconded, deceased or even ghost workers, with “446 of them receiving double salaries with different bank accounts.”
While he said details of all the pay rolled workers are with the State’s Accountant General, the Governor however said the Head of Service had been briefed to advise the government on what the Civil Service rule says regarding workers whose activities as regards salary payment are criminal.
Nonetheless, Governor Uzodimma assured all the genuine workers that his government will continue to encourage them to be the best they want to be while serving the State.
He promised to attend to all genuine issues concerning their career growth and welfare and invited them to reciprocate the gesture by being more committed to their job.
Some of the workers who brought their case before the Governor got instant attention like a physically-challenged in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Vulnerable Groups, Mr. Pius Anyanwu who complained that his travel allowance of N5million to Japan and Indonesia years back has not been paid despite repeated appeals.
After listening to his pathetic tale Governor Uzodimma told him: “Don’t worry. I am going to pay you.”
The Head of Service, Barr. Raymond Ucheoma in his vote of thanks commended Governor Uzodimma for his heart of human kindness and untiring support to the workers over their welfare, noting that they have never had it so good in their career pursuit in the State as civil servants.
He described the free medical service as “historic landmark” that cannot be forgotten.