Imo State government has said it will be paying only 70 per cent of January salaries to public servants in the State. Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress in the state, Comrade Austin Chilakpu, disclosed this at a press conference in Owerri yesterday.
The 18-man joint committee comprising the state and labour, has unanimously agreed to pay only 70 per cent of workers salary across board, while making reservations for pension.
He said that the 70 per cent of the gross revenue for the month of January 2016 is N3,373,826,736.67. Given that the verified wage bill and pension for the month stood at N5.3 billion, the committee is saddled with a differential of about N1.9 billion.
Chilakpu explained that it was because of the shortfall that the committee decided to cut off 30 per cent of the salaries of workers for January 2016 but that it (State Government) hopes to pay up the balances when the revenue improves.
He also said that the unions were not going for downward review of workers’ salaries, but only doing the needful with the resources available. He stated that labour has mobilised its men and to be fully involved in the payment of salaries to check cases of ghost workers.
He also added that the union had set up a committee of financial experts to fast track the salary payment and improve on the financial state of the government as regards revenue generation.
Government workers in Imo are yet to be paid January and February salaries after the February 10 mass protest that followed the sack of more than 3,000 workers by Governor Rochas Okorocha in January.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had issued the state government a 14-day ultimatum to recall the sacked workers and tackle their unpaid salaries and other benefits as failure to do so will attract a total shutdown of the state.
Pleading with the Labour Union not to shutdown the state, the state government set up a 18 – member committee who will review the cases of the staff affected to ensure that the matter is resolved amicably.