By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Niger State Government has informed that it would soon commence payment of the new minimum wage as approved by the federal government to its civil servants but raised a proviso.
Payment of the new minimum to public sector workers under the state’s pay roll according to the state government would be implemented at the end of ongoing verification exercise to weed out phantom workers from the state’s nominal roll.
So far, the verification exercise has unearthed no fewer than a thousand fictitious names on payment vouchers of the state.
A statement issued by the Director General, Strategic Operations and Public Enlightenment to governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Abdull Berqy Ebbo, said the ongoing verification exercise has saved the state government well over N300 million uncovered as over payments to over 1,000 names on payment vouchers of the state government.
He said the money discovered had been used to promote 10,000 workers as part of government’s efforts to support growth in the state’s civil service.
The statement was however silent on fate of those behind the massive financial hemorrhage discovered following the staff auditing and verification of workers’ names.
The statement projected that the ongoing verification exercise of the civil servants on the pay roll of the state government would be concluded next month after which the state government would commence the implementation of the payment of the new minimum wage benchmark of =N=30,000
By implications, implementation of the new minimum wage to workers under the pay roll of the state government would start next month with all things being equal.
The state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello had last May while speaking on the occasion of Workers’ Day, read out a riot act to all public workers involved in shoddy deals of padding up the state’s payment vouchers and or fictitious names on payment vouchers to desist or face the full wrath of the law.
His ultimatum and grace period appeared not to have made impact as the ongoing verification exercise has unearthed such phantom workers’ names for the umpteen times.
The phenomenon of ghost workers in the state government’s employment has been an age long phenomenon through successive governments.
It remains to be seen how the present administration in the state would put an end to the sham.