By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom
Umuahia, May 30, 2023
Gov. Alex Otti of Abia says he is prepared to tackle the N200 billion internal and external debts left behind by Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration.
Otti said this on Tuesday during an interactive session with newsmen at the end of a three-hour closed-door meeting with Permanent Secretaries at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Otti had in his inaugural speech on Monday disclosed that his predecessor left a whopping N200 billion internal and external debts and N50 billion unpaid salary arrears.
He said: “The most important thing to do about addressing problems is to study them and understand them before taking appropriate actions to tackle them.
“Somewhere in my mind, I believe that it is not all the debts that are genuine.
“The first thing we will do is to confirm the debts and be sure they are genuine.”
The governor said that the issue of ghost worker syndrome would be solved through forensic audit of head count and account to restore sanity in the system.
According to him, this will enable the government to ascertain the actual amount owed civil servants.
He reaffirmed his campaign promise that the new administration would tackle the challenges of backlogs of unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities.
He said that the meeting with the permanent secretaries afforded him the opportunity to familiarise with them and understand their challenges.
“It was a familiarisation meeting and I just wanted to understand how they have been doing their jobs and to know if there are areas of challenges.
“I also communicated my vision clearly to them.
“It was a very good meeting. A meeting of brothers and sisters,” Otti said.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Gov. Ikechukwu Emetu and the Head of Service, Onyii Wamah, among others.