By Eric Ugbor
Abaâ€”Despite the present economic meltdown, Aba North Local Government Area of Abia State has in the past six months spent over N350 million on infrastructural development, even as the council has concluded arrangement to offset the backlog of its workersâ€™ salary.
The projects, which are scattered over the council area, includes the asphalting of the secretariat and other roads, erection of an ultra modern office complex and the provision of electricity and water to communities in the area.
Disclosing this to newsmen in Aba, the council chairman, Chief Ifeanyi Ikwuechegh, said his administration embarked on the projects to give succour to the people of the Local Government.
He said with the completion of work on the secretariat road, the staff would no longer find it difficult to come to work.
He promised workers of the council owed backlog of salaries that they would soon heave a sigh of relief, as the council has concluded arrangements to ensure that the arrears of salary were paid this month, using the expected October excess crude allocation.
He blamed the delay in payment of the workersâ€™ salaries in the council on the present economic meltdown as well as over-bloated workforce and ghost workers.
â€œThe problem we have here is that we do not receive up to 50% of what is required to pay the wage bill. On the average, the council receives N16 million monthly, while the wage bill is over N45 million. We have over 1,380 persons on our pay roll, but only about 80 come to work and have offices,â€ he said.
He, however, insisted that it was only identified and genuine workers that would be paid, pointing out that â€œmore than 80% of those on our payroll are either traders or students who only come on pay day to receive salary without actually working for the council and we have vowed not to continue in this direction againâ€.
Responding to the threat of the staff to embark on strike, Ikwuechegh said his council was not recognizing any strike by the workers since there was no letter to that effect.