By; Patrick Titus, Uyo
Civil servants and pensioners in Akwa Ibom state with question on their Bank Verification Number (BVN) resulting in multiple salary and pension collections would have their axes to grind to serve as deterrent to others.
The state government said that it has discovered one thousand, four hundred and fifty eight (1, 458) names of civil servants and pensioners with issues on their BVN.
Commissioner for Finance, Akan Okon gave the revelation last week, in Uyo while inaugurating an eight- man BVN Verification Committee to address those anomalies on the BVN to ensure credibility.
Okon, who explained that each individual is entitled to only one BVN irrespective of number of accounts and banks, said government has detected cases where one BVN is tied to more than one persons, a situation he termed worrisome noting that it may imply multiple salary/pension collections.
He pointed out that the present administration has done a lot to reposition the payroll system for efficiency and effectiveness, adding that BVN is one of the mechanisms deployed to checkmate activities of ghost workers and pensioners.
To this end, public servants should take ownership of the payroll system to ensure it is not porous to fraud and leakages, which could lead to system collapse.
While inaugurating the BVN verification team, Mr. Okon said that government had deemed it fit to involve all relevant stakeholders in the verification committee to ensure that resolutions are made holistically, and charged the team to see the assignment as a clarion call to the service of the State.
The BVN Verification committee headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Eme-ete Imuk, FCA, was given a period of one month to complete the authentication exercise and also make recommendations to the state government.
Also in the team, are Permanent Secretaries, Office of the Head of Service and that of the Department of Establishment, Mrs. Eno Offiong and Mrs. Stella Etukakpan respectively. While the Assistant Director, Computer Centre of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Sunday Udioko serves as Secretary.
Other memberships were drawn from the Office of the Accountant-General, Office of the Auditor-General, Nigerian Labor Congress, and Nigerian Union of Pensioners.
Responding, the Chairman of the Committee and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Eme-ete Imuk who spoke on behalf of other members, thanked the state government for finding them worthy to serve in that capacity and assured that they would work assiduously to achieve the goals and objectives of the committee.
On his part, the Chairman of NLC, Comrade Etim Ukpong commended the State government for the initiative which he described as a welcome development.
He pledged the support of NLC towards the sanitization of the payroll system which according to him would save funds for other compelling needs of the State as well as ascertain the actual number of Personnel in the workforce.
Meanwhile, salaries and pensions of the affected 1, 458 BVN persons may be put on hold pending the outcome of the verification exercise while the affected workers and pensioners are advised to step up to confirm their BVN
Akwa Ibom payroll, 1, 458 persons with questionable BVN
By; Patrick Titus, Uyo