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Benue may consider salary reduction

THERE are strong indications that the Benue State government may reduce the salary of workers in order to cope with the huge wage bill hanging on the neck of the administration.

Governor Samuel Ortom gave this hint on Wednesday, during the inauguration of the board of civil service commission, declaring that the huge wage bill coupled with economic recession had compounded the challenges of his administration.

As of the time of filing this report, the state is owing five  months salaries to its state workers, while local government workers are being owed six  months salaries.

The governor, who lamented the huge wage bill which he put at N7.8 billion monthly including local government workers, pension allowances and monthly overhead, however, submitted that ‘retrenchment is not an option’.

“The past administration in its own wisdom raised  the wage bill which shows that what a civil servant in Benue earns doubles what his counterpart earns in neighbouring states like Imo or Nasarawa states.

“Even most states who enjoy 13 per cent derivation still owe backlog of salaries, though, retrenchment is not in mind,  but very soon, we will hold stakeholders’ meeting to look at what we can do, after all, Nasarawa has reverted,” he disclosed.

The governor charged the newly inaugurated members of civil service commission to work hard and sanitise the state civil service for better productivity.

He also charged them to be fair in their dealings in the affairs of promotion, discipline and other responsibilities as dictates by their duty.

The chairman of the board, Professor Jerry Agada, a former minister of state for education under the Yar ‘Adua promised that the members would not betray the confidence reposed in them.