July 14, 2024

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Abia finance commissioner denies pocketing N10 m monthly as state moves to disburse N1 b loan

Mike Akpara

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Abia finance commissioner denies pocketing N10 m monthly as state moves to disburse N1 b loan

By Steve Oko

Commissioner for Finance Abia State, Mr Mike Akpara, has described as blatant lies, allegations by the opposition that he takes home a whopping N10 million every month.

Information Commissioner, Okey Kanu

This is as the State Government is set to launch N1 billion interest-free revolving loan scheme for traders and Small and Medium Enterprise, SME operators across the 184 political wards in the state.

Addressing the press after the weekly State Executive Council meeting in Umuahia, the Finance Commissioner who was flanked by his Information counterpart, Prince Okey Kanu; and Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs boss, Prince Uzor Nwachukwu; also said that “no Commissioner takes home N5 million or N3 monthly” as alleged by the opposition.

He, however, declined to disclose their monthly take home when prodded, explaining that the issue of salary is a private matter.

Mike Akpara

Akpara, therefore, urged members of the public to ignore the allegations which according to him, are being sponsored by the opposition to blackmail the Dr Alex Otti-led administration in the state.

He also dismissed as baseless, allegations that the current administration ” is punishing civil servants”, arguing that no administration had shown interest in the welfare of workers like the Otti-led administration.

Akpara said that besides clearing pension arrears, Abia workers including core and non-core civil servants have under the watch of Otti, consistently received their salaries on the 28th day of every month.

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He argued that it would be unfair to reciprocate the Governor’s kind gestures and good intentions towards workers with blackmail, stressing that the 11- month wage arrears owed staff of Abia State University were not incurred by the current administration.

The Commissioner noted that the Governor had already promised to clear every salary arrear inherited by his administration but in batches to enable the State attend to its other financial obligations.

According to him, Otti deserves appreciation and not condemnation because he has demonstrated genuine concern over the welfare of workers and pensioners in the state.

” Remember there are other responsibilities of Government. There are other citizens who don’t get paid by Government at the end of the month and they need to share from the good roads, hospitals and other facilities that Government has to provide “.

Responding to inquiry by Wawa News Global on the status of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the Finance Commissioner said Abia generated N15.4 billion from January to June, adding that the State records average monthly IGR of N2.7 billion.

He, however, noted that the current IGR was still below the N4.3 billion monthly target set by the current Government.

Adding his voice, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, said that the State’s IGR, was expected to improve in the months ahead following the end of tax holidays granted by Government to citizens so as to clean up revenue collection system.

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He explained that the intension of Government to harmonize tax collection was to plug financial leakages so that there would be enough funds to work for the people.

Speaking earlier, Commissioner for Information, Prince Kanu, disclosed that Government would on Thursday, disburse N1 billion interest-free loan to traders and SME operators.

He explained that 50 beneficiaries from each of the 184 political Wards in the state, totaling 9,200 persons were targeted in the first batch.

The loan, according to him is to enable them boost their trades and cushion the excruciating effects of the fuel subsidy removal, adding that the ripple effects of the intervention will help rejig the state’s economy.

He said the Governor is seriously concerned about the wellbeing of the people, and will always strive to show empathy.

On some reported challenges in the verification of some workers resulting into delays in payment of their salaries, the Commissioner said it was not the fault of Government nor was it a deliberate act to punish anybody.

He explained that some of the challenges were as a result of issues from bank verification numbers, national identity number factors, discrepancies in names among other factors but assured that efforts were being intensified to resolve all the challenges.

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The Commissioner decried the rising incidents of vandalism of property of public schools in the state and warned those behind the act to desist.

He said that the State Executive Council had resolved that henceforth, community leaders including Traditional Rulers, and President Generals, would be advised to take ownership of public schools in their respective communities to help safeguard them against vandals.

Contributing, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Uzor Nwachukwu, warned residents against street trading and illegal motor parks.

He said that Government’s taskforce against the menace had commenced, and would not hesitate to clamp down on the perpetrators.

” Osisioma is like a mad house. People are trading and vehicles loading on the streets indiscriminately. We must create the enabling environment that will attract investors and won’t allow people pursuing their selfish interests to deface the state”.

The new Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ukoha Njoku Ukoha, was also at the briefing.

 

Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email stevemanofgod2000@yahoo.com; wawanewsglobal@gmail.com Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.

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