The Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, on Monday, revealed that over N21 billion had remained unpaid to both the state and local government retirees.
He stated that the administration was able to settle 2014 and 2015 outstanding gratuities totalling N3.2 billion.
Speaking at the swearing-in of newly appointed two Special Advisers and 12 Permanent Secretaries on Monday at the Banquet Hall Gombe, the governor said efforts were underway to settle the 2016 outstanding gratuity before the end of the year 2022.
According to the governor, his administration had intended to pay the 2017 balances by the first quarter of 2023.
Yahaya disclosed that his administration inherited a moribund civil service, “We met a dysfunctional service that had a bloated structure, lacking in the ability to perform its constitutional responsibility of service delivery.
He said, “The Civil Servants lacked direction, motivation and the will to perform. There was also palpable fear for the future as entitlements upon retirement such as gratuity were not forthcoming.
“As for the local governments, this administration inherited a backlog of gratuities dating as far back as 2012. In order to bring succour to these retirees, a committee has been constituted to review the current financial status of each Local Government with a view to settling the backlog. It was, therefore, very evident that, for our government which came in with strong determination to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, through efficient, effective and timely service delivery, reforming the civil service must be top priority. To underscore our determination to resurrect and reform the State Civil Service, we have so far undertaken many actions.”
Some of measures taken by state government to correct anomalies was the restructuring of the government which now had 21 ministries from the 27 inherited and this had reduced duplication of responsibilities and cost of governance.
He said, “Furthermore, the creation of the State Bureau of Public Service Reforms located in the Governor’s Office and the State Council on Reform has been set up, so as to guide the reform processes.
“The introduction of staff verification and audit to block leakages in the payroll and implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage for workers in the State Service were under taken by our administration to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.”
According to him, the ceremony for the swearing-in of the 12 new Permanent Secretaries are a momentous and joyous event which also signified the continuing efforts of the government to reform the Gombe State Civil Service and place it in a good stead to truly be the engine room of government.
Also, the appointment of the 12 Permanent Secretaries followed the adoption of a new process and procedure and it was a departure from the past where Permanent Secretaries were appointed haphazardly.
“In some instances, such appointments were doled out as parting gifts to retiring and retired officers. In the case of the latter, appointment letters were scandalously backdated. And this was done with no consideration to the financial implications of such actions. Now, and for the first time, we have in place, a template for appointments into the top echelon of the civil service. It has merit, experience, character and leadership qualities as determinants.
“In addition, it promotes transparency, equity, accountability, as well as inclusiveness. Each and every Local Government now has at least two Permanent Secretaries in the state service,” the Governor added.