Wednesday, 27 September 2017

AKWA IBOM 2019: APC TO PAY PROMOTION ARREARS

“Come 2019, APC government in Akwa Ibom state will pay civil servants who have been cheated and short-changed their outstanding promotion arrears”.


By UduakAbasi Ikpat 

The Akwa Ibom State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Edet Eyo Bassey has said that civil servants in the state who have been hoodwinked and denied their promotion arrears by the present government shall be paid their due and outstanding promotion arrears at the inception of an APC government in the state in 2019. Barr. Bassey made the disclosure as part of his commentary on the 30th Anniversary celebration of the creation of the state to journalists at the party secretariat in Uyo. He said it was sad and unfortunate that while the state government rolled out the drums in a needless month-long celebration, the civil service; the engine room and policy thrust implementation organ of government was left emotionally comatose pondering their role in the Dakaka Administration.

Quoting the scriptures, Romans 4:4 he averred, “Now, when a man works, his wages (and entitlements) are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation”, he said it was unfair and unethical to promote a worker without effecting his commensurate promotion benefits which has been the practice in the past. It is disappointing that the government of Deacon Emmanuel could be so dispassionate about the welfare of the civil servants or could it be an action deliberately intended to hurt and punish that section of the working class, he quipped? Bassey recalled the statement credited to the governor at the occasion of his 2017 May Day speech to Labour where he stated unequivocally that “government will soon clear all the backlog of promotion arrears”.

The APC spokesman said his party was inundated with complaints of non-payment of promotion benefits to civil servants. He specifically mentioned the case of Ministry of Information and Strategy whose members of staff that attended promotion interview in 2015 and 2016 were yet to be issued promotion letters and paid appropriate benefits. Even more intriguing is the fact that the promotion letters are kept on-hold to be delivered on a date convenient to government. The implication is that the beneficial officer despite being promoted will not enjoy his new promotion status/salary until the period his promotion letter is released to him/her.

Besides non-payment of promotion benefits, the APC spokesman said complaints of non-promotion, delayed promotion interviews and failure to release promotion interview results were some of the petitions received by the Party.

Barr. Bassey expressed regrets that the fundamental machinery of government, the civil service, has been neglected by the Udom Administration while undue emphasis is placed on “Political Administration” of the state. He lamented the untold hardship and consequences of government’s inappropriate actions on lives and families of civil servants circumvented and short-changed by government. He contended that in time past, promotion arrears were what beneficial officers used to purchase land, build homes and finance higher education for their children. One can only imagine the agony and frustration of the officers deluded by government; he muttered. 

The APC Publicity Secretary further disclosed that a contingent of top ranking and retired civil servants in the category of Head of Service, Permanent Secretaries, etc were locked in an epic legal battle in the National Industrial Court with the State Government over irregular computation of their retirement benefits contrary to what is obtained nationally in the civil service. He pondered why the Udom Administration should descend so low to challenge the rights of these senior citizens who gave a life time of meritorious service to the state.

On the issue of payment of accumulated leave grant to Primary School Teachers, Bassey said the problem was a recurrent decimal. He opined that the body language of the Governor and his government did not suggest that the long-standing arrears will be settled any time soon. He said jokingly that as far as Gov. Udom Emmanuel is concerned, teachers benefit and reward will be settled in heaven.

APC charges the PDP led government of Deacon Udom Emmanuel to be passionate and friendly to labour in a similar manner that President Mohammadu Buhari recently approved a “paltry” sum of N44 Billion for payment of backlog of promotion arrears, salary shortfalls and sundry staff claims owed to public servants. The party spokesman condemned in clear and unequivocal terms the appalling treatment meted to hard working civil servants in the state by Governor Emmanuel and assured them of payment of their promotion arrears upon the inauguration of an APC Administration in the state come 2019. He implored the people to vote for change.

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Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of Isaac Yoma