Abia State Government has denied owing workers in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of salaries.
Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, was reacting to the statement by chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Mr. Uchenna Obigwe, that government owed workers’ emoluments.
He said Obigwe is either ignorant of the laws by the House of Assembly that forbids state from paying salaries of workers in parastatals, as the management of parastatals are permitted by law to make, retain and use their revenue to pay as at and when due, or that he (Obigwe) is playing politics with workers’ salaries.
“We agree that a labourer deserves his wages and, hence, have worked very hard to prioritise workers’ emoluments in the state as confirmed by Obigwe, via a radio programme monitored in Umuahia,.
“Abia State Government is not owing workers in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the state any salary.
“NLC leadership at both state and national levels confirmed that workers in our MDAs are not being owed salaries and we make bold to state that they have already received July 2019 salaries.
“According to existing laws, made by the state House of Assembly, the state government does not pay workers in state parastatals as the management of those parastatals are permitted by law to make, retain and use their revenue to pay their workers as and when due.
“State parastatals also do not remit any portion of their revenue to the state government’s consolidated revenue account unlike the MDAs.
“Rather, the state government provides support to parastatals from time to time through the payment of subventions which are not necessarily meant to be used for salary payments.
“If organized labour, led by Obigwe, is asking the state government to directly pay salaries of workers in parastatals, then they should be bold enough to approach the state House of Assembly to amend the relevant laws to ensure that such parastatals remit their revenues to the state’s coffers so the state can assume full responsibility for paying workers in those parastatals.
“It is on record that this administration has made several interventions to help pay parastatals workers including paying workers of ABSUTH 11 months salary arrears in 2015, payment of N2 billion debt of AbiaPoly, payment of months of subventions to all the ailing parastatals in the state etc,” Okiyi said.
Okiyi, however, acknowledge that the state had unpaid salaries with secondary school teachers.