The Kogi State Government has expressed its determination to midwife the ongoing reforms in its civil service to a logical conclusion.
Addressing reporters in Lokoja, Monday, the Director General on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo said government cannot afford to continue “funding fraud” in the service.
“After The Staff Verification Exercise, Government decided to test the veracity of the certificates presented by the civil servants. The brain behind the certificate verification exercise was to ascertain if the civil servants are actually qualified for the jobs they do or claim to do.
“In the course of the Staff Verification Exercise, mind boggling revelations were made. Some head teachers in primary schools couldn’t communicate in English. These are the people teaching our pupils.
“The Civil Service Reforms is not all about blocking waste, but ensuring efficiency in the service. There are excellent hands in the Kogi State Civil Service but the odd ones may need to be brought to the level of efficiency and effectiveness.
“Recent discoveries of forged certificates in the service has vindicated government. We have wasted over 5 billion naira paying people who forged certificates to defraud the state and deprive the Kogi people of potable water, good roads, good hospitals and good schools. What we have used to pay workers with fake certificates was enough to provide water in every ward in Kogi State.
Fanwo said government was making efforts to offset salary arrears of some categories of workers who are being owed a few months salaries, assuring them of celebrating Christmas and New Year with joy.
“Even before the President’s advice to the Governors to pay salaries before the Yuletide, the Government of Kogi State had put in place machineries to clear salary arrears owed some categories of civil servants and pensioners.
“It is true that government is owing workers who were initially found to have violated the Public Service Rules but later pardoned by the Governor and returned to the payrolls.
“Government appreciates the patience of our patriotic workers even as we seek their understanding in finding a permanent solution to the challenge posed by the issue of salary payments across the nation in the face of dwindling resources and competing demands for the meager resources available.
“We cannot continue to pretend that a foam is as strong as a brick wall. States must begin to build business friendly environments to make people see alternatives to government jobs. We must also encourage blue-collar jobs to create wealth and promote entrepreneurship.”
He said the issue of salaries call for a concerted reasoning rather than turning it to a “political item by opportunistic politicians”, insisting that the Governor Yahaya Bello administration will continue to accord the civil service its “deserved respect.”
He said, “Governments all over the nation are torn between raising funds for infrastructural development, social security and salaries. We want to assure the people of the State that the days ahead are quite promising.
“The Empowerment of the Kogi State Road Maintenance Agency with quality professionals and state of the art equipment was aimed at beating down the cost of road construction and maintenance. Today, the wisdom behind the initiative has translated into better roads across the state.
“In 2018, KOGROMA will fix many rural roads in the state and match our agricultural ambition of massive production and massive marketing.”