In apparent demonstration of his concern for the plight of Abia workers following months of salary arrears, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has announced the cutting of his salary by half as well as his travel allowance by 50 per cent.
Ikpeazu, who disclosed this Monday at the Government House, Umuahia, while swearing in the state’s new Head of Service, Dr. Vivian Uma, said he was deeply pained by his administration’s inability to pay salaries of workers as and when due following the dwindling Federal Allocation.
He said that he had decided to personally identify with the suffering workers and would not lift the self-imposed austerity until the salaries and allowances owed workers were cleared.
Some workers, especially those in the parastatals as well as pensioners, are being owed up to six months.
The governor, who is yet to pack into the Government House, Umuahia, promised “to do everything possible” to systematically defray the arrears of workers’ salaries.
He called on political appointees to follow his own example , stressing that there was the need to cut down the cost of governance.
Meanwhile, he congratulated the new Head of Service on his appointment which he described as a milestone. He said that the appointment was part of the government’s desire to re-jig the civil service.
He charged civil servants in the state to be more proactive for the challenges ahead.
The governor also charged the new HoS to fashion out innovative ways of doing things, especially in terms of shoring up the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
In his acceptance speech, Uma promised to introduce new changes for efficient service delivery, adding that discipline and sound ethical conduct would be enthroned in the service under his watch.
Uma thanked Ikpeazu for giving him the opportunity to serve in that capacity and promised not to disappoint the people.
Meanwhile, Ikpeazu has solicited the assistance of the World Bank in tackling the erosion challenge in the state.
Ikpeazu, who made the plea in Umuahia when he received in audience the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria’s New-map Team, said the state alone could no longer handle the over 1,200 erosion sites in the state.
The governor, who noted that erosion posed a disturbing threat to the state, called for urgent action to save the state from the impending dangers, especially as the rains set in.
Ikpeazu said there was urgent need for concerted efforts and proactive measures to save the precarious situation from degenerating.
He particularly called for a quick solution to the perennial flooding at Ndiegoro area of Aba, the commercial hub of the state, which he said, had become a disaster area.
He restated the preparedness of the state government to partner the World Bank and the FGN New-map team in tackling erosion challenges facing the state.
The governor promised that the state would live up to its counterpart obligations to the team.