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Cross River Govt. to investigate 213% workforce increase

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The Cross River Government has announced its intention to investigate the 213% rise in the state’s workforce, which skyrocketed from approximately 18,000 to a staggering 56,358 over an eight-year period.

Dr. Innocent Eteng, the state Head of Service, revealed this during a press conference in Calabar, stressing Governor Bassey Otu’s concerns regarding the escalating financial burden associated with the burgeoning payroll.

Eteng stated the imperative of scrutinizing the workforce’s composition, describing it as “currently bloated by several infractions” and attributing it to the mounting challenges in funding essential projects. With a breakdown indicating 14,328 staff in the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), 2,812 in the Primary Health Care Development Agency, and 22,526 pensioners in the State Civil Service, Eteng emphasized the need for a strategic cleanup of the payroll system.

What he said

  • ”The present administration has  religiously kept its promise of prompt payment of salaries and has done up-to-date, except for a few civil servants whose names could not be reconciled on the nominal roll and payroll.
  • “However, there is an ongoing strategic clean-up of the state payroll, driven by the office of the HoS and the Accountant General, to rid the system of any ambiguities.

Highlighting ongoing efforts to rectify discrepancies, Eteng mentioned the directive issued by Governor Otu for permanent secretaries to submit their nominal rolls for reconciliation. However, he lamented that only nine out of the 32 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) had complied with this directive so far, implying that more than half of the workforce might not receive their salaries in March.

  • “In line with the state governor’s directive to nip the controversy in the bud and streamline the wage bill, my office issued a directive to the 31 MDAs to submit their nominal rolls for reconciliation.
  • “So far, only nine MDAs have complied and we have reconciled their names. Only workers in these nine MDAs who we can attest to will receive their salaries for March.
  • ”The rest 22 which have refused to comply will not be paid. The government has paid all salaries up till February.
  • “We have even paid all recognized 2,860 traditional rulers in the state for March as the government is very committed to salary payments.
  • “We have even begun to clear the backlog of gratuities. All pensioners have been paid for March. The governor directs that they must always be paid first.
  • “We are very stern about the submission of the Nominal Roll directive. Civil servants should hold their permanent secretaries responsible for non-payment of their salaries, not the state government.”

More insights

  • Eteng solicited support and understanding from all stakeholders in the endeavour to streamline the payroll, citing the necessity to address irregularities and ensure transparency.
  • He pointed out the paradoxical situation where schools lack adequate teachers despite an apparent surplus in the payroll, reiterating the urgency of rectifying such discrepancies.
  • He clarified that individuals experiencing delays in salary payments should rectify any irregularities in their records and present their cases to the Head of Service’s office.
  • This move aligns with the government’s commitment to uphold accountability and prioritize salary disbursements, exemplified by the prompt payment of recognized traditional rulers and pensioners.

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