– Inaugurates Committee To Bust Syndicate
John Shiaondo, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has expressed dissatisfaction with a biometric verification conducted in the early months of his administration saying it failed to provide the actual staff strength and wage bill of the state.
Ortom, who made this known while inaugurating a 10-member salary verification committee headed by a retired Permanent Secretary, Mr Tertsea Ikyabo, Thursday, at Benue People’s House, said the biometric verification did not address the bloated wage bill which has remained constant and charged them to come out with a realistic wage bill for the state.
He said there is a syndicate in the state which is bent on ensuring that ghost workers remain on the payroll of government and urged the committee to be thorough in its three month assignment.
“There cannot be ghost workers without syndicates backing them therefore I urged you to be down-to-earth in your three month assignment so as to fish out the ghost workers and those behind them,” he maintained.
He said though some ghost workers were discovered in some of the local governments during the payment of salary arrears with bailout funds, the administration is keen to ensuring that ghost workers are completely eliminated from government payroll to enable it plan well for the people.
According to Governor Ortom, the state pays over N7 billion in monthly salaries which he feels is outrageous.
He said the fight to clean government payroll of ghost workers is not only in Benue noting that the Federal Government also discovered over 43,000 ghost workers on its payroll while Sokoto state discovered 13,000.
Governor Ortom said the bank verification number would continue to be used to check excesses of those that divert money through ghost workers.
Responding to the governor’s inaugural speech, the Chairman of the Salary Verification Committee, Mr Tersea Ikyabo, said it was a privilege for them to be appointed out of many.
Ikyabo promised that members would justify the confidence reposed in them and recalled that while he was in the service, he saw traces of the ghost workers syndrome.