Gov. TA Orji has warned against delay in payment of local council workers

GOVERNOR Theodore Orji has warned against delay in payment of the monthly salaries of local council workers in Abia State over late submission of salary vouchers by some councils.
He directed that henceforth, those councils that submit their wage bills within the stipulated time should be paid.
The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs told journalists two weeks ago that the delayed salary payment was due to late submission of wage bills/vouchers by the treasurers of the councils to the auditor general for vetting before the funds are released.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Ochi Ochu, while explaining the reason for the delay in the workers’ February 2012 salaries, said by February 28, only nine of the 17 councils had submitted their vouchers, which were supposed to be turned in between 10 and 15 of every month.
He added that the funds for the salaries for that month consequently, were not released to the 17 councils but rather paid into the banks, pending when all of them submitted their vouchers and they were vetted.
Not satisfied with the explanation, the governor queried non-release of the money to the councils that submitted their vouchers timely, saying “those councils that failed to submit their vouchers should not punish those that did theirs on time. I expected the ministry to have paid those councils that submitted their vouchers so that those that did not would suffer delayed release of their salaries.
“When the salaries of all the 17 councils are delayed, the council workers would go to town blackmailing and accusing the government of diverting funds meant for their salaries even when the government had made the funds available”.