Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has explained why workers of the of the state received about 50 percent of their salaries.
He said it was because of the continued dwindling of the total revenue of the state.
Workers of the state have been complaining that their salaries were slashed from the 70 percent in February to about 50 percent recently.
But, speaking with journalists at Government House, Owerri, Okorocha said it was also reason he wanted to concession some non-performing parastatals so as to enable the concessionaires concentrate on providing services to the people as well as be in a good stead to pay staff they would inherit from the parastatals.
He stated that the situation was what he foresaw early enough before the 2015 election and found a way of resolving it, but regretted that the workers, out of selfish interest, refused to see things from his own perspective.
“Now, they agreed that they should be given 70 percent of the state gross monthly revenue which we have painfully granted them while my government has only 30 percent of the total money to work for the people of Imo State. They have been the people paying themselves from the money. Today, the problem Imo workers have is that as the allocation and revenue keep dwindling, their 70 percent share of the Imo money can’t even pay them 50 percent salaries”, the governor said.
On the closure of Imo State University following an indefinite strike action by the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Okorocha accused the lecturers of ulterior motives in attempting to ground academic activities at the university.
He said the lecturers were not comfortable with his free education policy at the university as it allegedly robbed them of certain interests.
He went ahead to accuse the lecturers of trying to blackmail his administration with a demand for a new salary scale when it was obvious that there was economic crunch in the state and country.
“If not that they are blackmailing me, ask them why they are still on strike even when we have paid them salaries up to March this year”, Okorocha wondered.
He threatened that if the lecturers did not come back to school and save the youths of the state, he would have no choice but to concession the state university and employ new lecturers to teach.