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Chinonso Alozie, Owerri

The Imo state government on Tuesday cautioned BudgIT on what it described as an untrue and misleading report that Imo was among the states owing salaries of its workers.

The state commissioner for Finance, Doris Uzoka-Anite, stated this to newsmen in Owerri, while reacting to BudgIT’s report.

The commissioner argued that the government was surprised at such a report at a time the Imo workers were receiving their salaries as when due and the government has paid up-to-date salaries. They however called on BudgIT to cross-check their facts before going public.

According to the government, “Recent report by BudgIT alleging that Imo is one of the state governments owing salaries of between “6 months and above. The BudgIT report, released recently and entitled: “2022 Nigerian Sub-National Salary Survey as of July 31st, 2022”, categorized Imo under the “red colour” of its mapping, a report which is “untrue and grossly misleading. The survey, which BudgIT claims is the result of its field research, is not only very misleading but also an embarrassment to the Government.

“We demand an immediate retraction of this publication and request for an unreserved apology from the organisation as the only way to correct the obvious error and put the records straight. Many issues had always surrounded the payment of salaries in Imo state until the arrival of His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, under whose eagle eyes, a verification exercise was conducted and many ghost workers, identified.

“The Civil Service System in Imo State has been successfully rejigged, with a backlog of owed emoluments cleared, and multiple payments to fraudulent workers halted. Today, Imo workers get their salaries as and at when due. Any who complaints about unpaid salaries today must be investigated as the complainant is either a ghost worker or an unrepentant beneficiary of the rot in the system that saw many workers receive salaries from different offices at the same time, a situation which has been tackled assiduously.

“The Government, therefore, wonders where BudgIT got its false facts from to the extent of publishing it and misleading the public.”

“Government wishes to caution BudgIT to always cross-check its facts and conduct “thorough research” to avoid misleading the public, embarrassing the Government, and bringing itself into disrepute.

“One wonders where such unconfirmed report could spring from, because Imo workers got a 13th-month salary bonus in December 2021, with other juicy gifts, as an expression of the State Government’s commitment to the overall welfare of our workers,” govt said.

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