Casket making, mortuary services, only thriving business in Abia, says SDP chair, Nwosu
. Backs presidency on conditions for accessment of 3rd tranche of Paris Club refund
By Steve Oko
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Abia State, Hon. Chidi Nwosu, has said that the only thriving business venture in Abia under the current Peoples Democratic Party -led administration is casket making and mortuary services.
Nwosu who made the assertion Wednesday while addressing journalists in his office in Umuahia said the rate of death across the state had been on the increase as a result of hardship suffered by workers and pensioners over unpaid wages.
He accused the Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu -led Government of insensitivity towards the plight of workers and pensioners.
Nwosu alleged that all the promises made by the Governor upon assumption of duty on prompt payment of workers ‘ salaries had not been kept.
He supported the Presidency over the condition given for the disbursement of the third tranche of Paris Club refund to states.
The Presidency had directed that any state(s) still owing workers’ salaries would not benefit from the largess.
Nwosu said any state still owing workers had no moral justification to receive more funds from the windfall.
He lambasted the Abia State Government for its inability to pay workers and pensioners regularly.
The former lawmaker said it was not acceptable for the state to blame its inability to pay workers on the “lame excuse of paucity of funds” which he said had become a refrain since the regime of ex-Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
Nwosu said that the problem of Abia was not paucity of funds but judicious management of available resources, accusing government of wasteful spending.
He decried the condition of civil servants and retirees in the state who he said were being owed backlog of salary and pension arrears of over 13 months.
“What do we see? – An abandoned and neglected people who are owed months of backlog of pension arrears spanning over 13 months.
” They are unfortunately passing on instalmentally. No retiree has received his /her gratuity since the Governor assumed office.
” Pensioners and secondary school teachers have to brace up. The Governor says so much and does next to nothing. They have never been paid promotion arrears since the inception of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu’s Government.”
However Commissioner of Information, Chief John Okiyi Kanu has consistently denied that civil servants were being owed salary arrears.
He said core civil servants who constitute about 75% of the state’s workforce had been paid up to date, explaining that it is only workers in some parastatals that are being owed.
Similarly, PDP Chairman, Chief Johnson Onuigbo had also said that every civil servant in all the core Ministries had been paid up to date.
He said Government was making spirited efforts to clear the affected parastatals as well as pensioners.
On the up – coming primaries of SDP, Nwosu said two governorship aspirants had already purchased the party ‘s form nomination form but refused to disclose their identities for strategic reasons.
Nwosu who said SDP had become the third major opposition party in the country vowed that the party would sack PDP from the seat of power in the state come 2019.
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