Since the administration of Gov Hope Uzodimma came on board in Imo State in the last one year the issues of payment of emoluments have hunted the government till this moment. This no doubt has wedged the people against the authorities there. A good labourer it is said deserves his wages and so it is given that this is one of the basic responsibilities of work.
It is considered the height of wickedness that a worker after discharging his duties to the state creditably would still be owed for months. Even while the debt endures the loyal worker is still expected to turn up for duties everyday and work on empty stomach. This government insensitivity as it can be viewed has far reaching implications.
One, it demotivates the wokers’ and this further has implications for productivity. Any worker burdened with the challenge of salary payment will automatically have divided attention as he would be torn between seeking alternative means of survival and facing the job for which he is not rewarded. This struggle generates a sagging interest and affects loyalty.
The moment the domestic issues are not settled both the employer and the employee will be drawn into a relationship crises that have negative consequences for the duo. It is a sad reality that the politicians especially the present generation have turned the civil servants as weeping dogs and the once dignified civil service has become a laughing stock.
The civil service of any state need we remind are the engine of governance and productivity in the State. It beats the mind why the government will refuse to accord the right of first charge in the appropriation of resources given its importance in the scheme of things. Sadly, the government has operated taking them for granted.
The situation appears more pronounced in Imo than in any state, more so in this government, Never in the history of this state has the issue of payment of emolument ever generated such aggression and level of protest actions especially from pensioners whose toil in the past moved the state forward to the point that we are now.
It is unfortunate that the government in the state has failed to appreciate how the payment of salaries and pensions can help to lubricate the economy of the state which strength is anchored on civil service.
On assumption of office the governor with his 3R’s agenda of reconstruction, restructuring and rehabilitation vowed to keep faith with the payment of the salaries which he fixed to be 25th monthly. Unfortunately, not even for once was this respected.
It is alleged that while the government adopts a staggered process of hand picking a few workers it pays in each ministry, department and agency it would announce that it does not owe anybody while the workers have continued to shout to the heavens over unpaid wages.
The crescendo in the agitation for payment has reached such feverish pitch that the government was compelled to publish the lists of the people paid and declaring with a tone of finality that it is not owing anyone. There are still many crying that they are still owed months of unpaid salaries.
Was it necessary for government to take out pages of newspapers at tax payers’ expense to make the publications? Government’s labeling them as those irregularly engaged or so is not enough because many are still faulting the government.
In the past government attempt to claim innocence by publishing list of few workers it claimed were fraudulently earning beyond their actual entitlement hit the rocks when some of those accused threatened to take them to court. It is also shocking that the government has never made any attempt to prosecute those it claimed that were involved in the irregular practice of perpetuating salary fraud.
The effort of government to use consultants stationed in the office of the governor has not helped the situation but instead seem to have compounded things. The civil servants have never ceased crying over huge unexplained amounts chopped off their salary amount on daily basis. The frustrations generated by the arrears have compelled many of them to let the inexplicable deductions slide off and make do with whatever is given to them.
Their situation is further worsened by the inability of the labour leaders whose silence appears to give them away as compromised. They are not seen to have done enough otherwise the situation would not have endured till moment.
News Echo is disturbed over the manner the state has treated matters affecting civil servants. Since November 7, Imo doctors have been on strike but nothing has been heard from the government who carries on as if the health of the people does not matter to it. We urge the government to review its relationship with the workers this time around with a view to improving its welfare.