Anambra State Government has denied that it gave out the contract for payment of salaries of civil servants in the state to a private firm.
About 10 percent of the entire state workforce is presently entangled in a salary payment mix-up that saw some workers overpaid, some underpaid and others not paid at all for the month of December.
A visit to the state computer centre at the Jerome Udorji Secretariat, Awka where all salaries of civil servants are computed, confirmed the mix-up as the workers were seen filling out forms to enable the correction of the anomaly as directed by the Office of the State Head of Service.
It was gathered that the mix-up affected workers across all the State Ministries.
A civil servant with the Ministry of Information who identified himself as Mike said he is yet to receive his salary for December despite the fact that his colleagues had received theirs as early as the 17th of December, 2019.
“I have a colleague whose salary is #40,000 but got about #400,000 while another who receives #75,000 got #520,000. Even the leave allowance which the government has promised to pay, I did not receive. When I did not receive my salary, I thought it was a bank issue because it usually happens but this is over two weeks now and nothing has happened. That is why I am here to see what can be done,” he said.
Another civil servant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said when he came to fill the forms, he realized that he does not have the right information regarding what his salary is supposed to be as his salary has always been inconsistent with fluctuations upwards and downwards.
He continued, “People are complaining about the same thing because no single civil servant knows what they should be earning. For me to fill the form, I had to go back to Accounts department to where they calculated the deductions and gave me my take-home figure but that take home is not what I receive every month. So, this process just steps one after which we deal with these discrepancies. One good thing with this development is that it will expose a lot of shady deals going on in the payment system.”
Harford Okolo who works with the Office of the Secretary to the State Government regretted how the Christmas and New Year Celebrations meant little or nothing to him due to lack of money, appealing for the immediate resolution of the issue to enable him to undertake his responsibilities as a man.
It was however gathered from a reliable source that the mix-up happened because the State Government contracted out the payment to a Private firm.
The source alleged that salary payment has gone on without such issues over the years until the contractor who was said to be an acquaintance of persons in authority was hired to undertake the process.
Reacting to this, the Anambra State Head of Service, Barr Harry Uduh said the problem was a result of a recent systems upgrade resulting in some changes in the former carriers of the salary solution of the state.
He debunked the rumor that the payment was contracted out, noting that the technical glitch has been identified and the problem being addressed.
“The schedule that was generated and imputed were perfectly in order but the outcome turned out different but it is being addressed presently. Nobody who got more can get away with it because it is on record. It is either the person returns it voluntarily or we take it back at the end of the month. For those who did not get their salaries or were underpaid, they will eventually get paid as salary arrears. There is a commitment to sort this out and ensure that it does not happen especially as we look forward to the new National Minimum wage,” Uduh explained.
On the allegation of inconsistencies in salaries of workers, the Head of Service attributed it to the various commitments which the civil servants owe that the service checks off at the end of the month.
“Every civil servant knows his commitments; to the Labour Union, to professional bodies, to credit facility companies and all these accounts for the discrepancies the workers experience in their salary figures,” he added.