…Organised labour exonerates govt
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
THE Enugu State government yesterday denied allegation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that it misapplied the Federal Government bailout fund meant
for the payment of outstanding salaries, subventions and pensions for public servants in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Elder G.O.C Ajah, who made this denial in a statement, said that the reports in some national dailies (Not Sunday Sun) credited to the ICPC wrongly stated that Enugu State collected the sum of N10,174,238,681 as bailout fund.
He also pointed out that the commission wrongly stated that the state government disbursed the sum of N5,967,238,681.19 from the fund to “settle domestic debt and claimed that the funds for the payment of state salaries and emoluments was not yet accessed.”
Ajah keeping the record straight said that Enugu State government received only N4,207,000,000 from the Federal Government as bailout fund for the settlement of outstanding salaries, subventions and pensions for public servants in the state. According to him, “when the bailout fund was received, a dedicated bank account was opened for the fund and a committee comprising leaders of organized labour in the state, representatives of the stat government and pensioners, was setup by the Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to oversee the disbursement of the fund.”
He disclosed that so far N3,284,729,253.38 has been verified by the committee and disbursement is ongoing, adding that they have now a balance of N922,270,746.62 while the verification exercise for further payment has continued.
“On the issue of Excess Crude Account (ECA) Infrastructure Development Loan facilitated by the Federal Government, the state government has disbursed the sum of five billion, three hundred and sixty nine thousand, nine hundred and thirty naira (5,387,569,930.00), leaving a balance of four billion, six hundred and twelve million, four hundred and thirty thousand and seventy naira (4,612,430,070.00).
“From the foregoing, therefore, the Enugu State government wishes to state categorically that it did not misapply the bailout fund of N4.207 billion received from the Federal Government and that the figures quoted in the said media reports are false and misleading in all material particulars,” he said.
In support of the state government claim, the Organised Labour in Enugu State also said yesterday that Governor Ugwuanyi from the onset involved the organized labour in “the management of the N4,207,007,000 the actual bailout fund approved for the state for the settlement of arrears of initial pensions (from 2009 to June 2015);; arrears of July 2015 Pension to state pensions;; arrears of four months (Jan. to April 2015) subvention to state government parastatals;; and one month arrears of salaries to non-permanent staff.
The organised labour in their statement signed by the NLC state Chairman, Comrade Virginus C.
Nwobodo;; state TUC/JPSNC Chairman, Comrade Igbokwe Chukuma and Secretary, JPSNC (TVS), Comrade Theo O. Obasiani, said that a committee comprising labour and government was set up to verify, monitor and disburse the funds to the beneficiaries.
“As at the time referred to by the newspaper publication of (29th February 2016) over 60 per cent of the fund has been disbursed to the to the beneficiaries on item a – d above, while the verification and disbursement exercise is still ongoing till 31st May,
2016 as some of the beneficiaries (pensioners) are yet to show up for verification.
“The organised labour in Enugu State is seriously embarrassed by the false, unfounded and malicious publication purported to have emanated from the office Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). The publication which is false and misleading is deliberate attempt to instigate workers and good people of Enugu State against the state government as well as tarnish the good image of the state,” the union leaders said.