BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA— ANAMBRA State Government has constituted a five–member panel to investigate why workers of the state-owned Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, were paid incomplete salaries last month and reasons for engaging a large number of casual staff.
As part of implementation of recommendations of the committee, which is headed by the Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, all the 46 casual staff in the establishment have been disengaged.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Chief Maja Umeh, who told newsmen, yesterday, that the committee was headed by the Permanent Secretary in his ministry, Mr. Dike Ndulue, noted that the action of the management in cutting salaries of workers amounted to inciting the workers against the state government.
Some workers in the establishment recently told Vanguard that the inability of the management to pay them their full salary was due to directive by the government to slash its monthly subvention of N14 million by N4 million, adding that what was left was not enough to pay salaries and pensions of retired staff.
But Umeh said the slashed amount was to take care of outstanding gratuities of retired workers whose entitlements were in arrears, adding that it was part of the recommendations of the Chukwuma committee.
He said: “It was this administration that increased the monthly subvention of the ABS from about N8 million to N14 million and we have not removed any kobo from it. All we said was that the N4 million should be used to pay outstanding pension. By cutting the workers’ pay, the management was inciting the workers against government and we frown at that.”
According to him, ABS was given a target of N26 million monthly which would be enough to pay both salaries and pensions, adding that the target was based on the fact that it was in the organization’s work plan to generate up to that amount every month.
He explained that government was also making efforts to improve the services of the establishment by repairing its fallen mast, while new transmitters had been purchased to improve its reach.