There are strong indications that 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 a clue to this Wednesday during the inauguration of the board of the Civil Service Commission when he declared that the huge wage bill coupled with economic recession has compounded the challenges of his administration.
As at the time of filing this report, the state owes 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.”
The governor charged the newly inaugurated members of the 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, former minister of state for education under the Yar Adua administration promised that the members would not betray the confidence reposed on them.