Home News Cross River State Government Clears Misconceptions Surrounding Payroll Audit

Cross River State Government Clears Misconceptions Surrounding Payroll Audit

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Dr. Innocent Eteng

By Ita Williams, Calabar 

In response to recent statements and misconceptions regarding the Cross River State Civil Service Act, the Head of Service of Cross River State, Dr. Innocent Eteng has addressed the issue and provided clarity on the government’s intentions. 

In a press briefing held on Monday at the Office of the Cross River State Head of Service, State Secretariat, Calabar, he stated that miscreants have taken advantage of the situation and spread false information about the act.

Dr. Eteng stresses that Governor Bassey Otu is more concerned about the overall welfare of our state workforce. 

He said, “The Governor is deeply concerned about the welfare of Cross Riverians, including civil public servants. Despite the challenges faced by the state, such as low statutory allocation and the loss of oil wells, Governor Otu has taken measures to support workers. He increased the salaries of workers and pensioners by ten thousand naira to mitigate the effects of fuel subsidy removal. The governor also expressed the need for promotions to be carried out by the rules and regulations”

He said the governor himself called for the current comprehensive personnel audit to build trust and ensure accountability in the state public service. 

He said Governor Otu has called for the sanitization of the Cross River payroll system. Dr. Eteng clarified that the intention is not to punish or target any civil servant or pensioner. 

However, before the current audit exercise in the state civil service and local government workers which was directed by the state governor, Gov. Prince Bassey Edet Otu, according to the Head of Service, there was misconception in many quarters, that the government aimed to down-size the state workforce other were on the opinion that government is looking for a way to sack some workers from the system and bring in those who pays loyal to the present man in government during the 2023 election. 

He said, “The governor’s policy aims to prioritize the people, and he has instructed a comprehensive personnel audit to determine the accurate wage bill of the state. This way, the government can ensure that workers are paid promptly without owing them any money”

“The previous statewide audit verification, including pensioners, did not yield accurate results. Therefore, the government conducted another verification exercise, focusing on bank verification. The methodology involved reviewing workers’ files and matching the nominal role with the payrolls to identify irregularities and disparities” Dr. Eteng stressed. 

Dr. Eteng further maintained that “A significant number of people have received their salaries, while those who haven’t are individuals with pending issues that need to be sorted. The payroll audit involved various entities, including state civil servants, local government staff, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), the Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA), and pensioners. Out of a total of 53,734 personnel, 48,552 underwent bank verification, and 40,311 have been cleared for salary payment”

He reported that, “For the PHCDA, out of 2,868 individuals, 2,789 have been cleared, and 77 are currently undergoing sorting. Among the local government staff, 3,366 out of 4,229 have been cleared, with 863 still undergoing sorting. In SUBEB, 13,286 out of 14,410 staff have been cleared for payment, while 139 require further sorting. As for state civil servants, 10,486 out of 12,526 have been cleared, leaving 2,040 with reconciliatory issues”

“We acknowledged the existence of duplicate and repeated names in the payroll, which have been identified and are being resolved. 

He said additionally, that the government through this exercise is aimed to address unemployment by incorporating individuals with certificates into the system. This goal necessitates a thorough and transparent payroll audit” he said. 

Dr. Eteng gave assurance that “The motive behind the exercise is not to witch hunt any worker in the state but rather to ensure that only working individuals receive salaries and to eliminate non-working personnel from the payroll”

Dr. Eteng further assured the people that, “No instructions have been given or issued by Governor Otu to downsize the workforce. On the contrary, the governor has instructed that people should be paid their salaries promptly”

On his final submission, the Head of Service maintained that, “The Cross River State Government is committed to addressing misconceptions and ensuring that workers receive their salaries on time” stressing that, “The payroll audit serves as a means to enhance transparency and prevent irregularities in the system. Governor Otu’s vision is for Cross River State workers to enjoy the benefits of democracy and not face salary arrears”

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