It will be recalled that in December 2015, Governor Kashim Shettima while presenting the 2016 Budget to the Borno State House of Assembly promised to embark on staff verification exercise to determine the actual size of the state work force, Gov. Shettima immediately set up a high-powered committee chaired by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to kick start the exercise, A Consultancy firm was hired for the biometric data capture of the workers.
The high-powered committee which was headed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) last month submitted its report to the Governor, Shows that the State Government has total workforce of 27,971 on its payroll as at January 2016 and spent over Two Billion, Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira every month as salaries, After the exercise the total workforce is now 20,615, While salaries has dropped to One Billion, Seven Hundred and Seven Million Naira Monthly.
Also there were 12,951 pensioners as at December 2010, while over Four Hundred and Twenty Million Naira spent for their pension every month but after the exercise the number of pensioners has reduced to 8,731 while pension stood at N390Million Naira. The verification report shows that the state government saves about N480 million monthly.
But despite the good intention of the State Government to use the biometric exercise to sanitize payrolls and pave way to the unemployed citizens, the poor handling of the programme by the consultancy firm and the committee set up by the Government has caused prolonged sufferings to workers which resulted to the non-payment of outstanding workers salary and retirees for as long as 18 months, some workers depend on relatives for survival, some have become beggars and pitiful, as they cannot afford to stay with their families without salaries, As for pensioners it really depressing for someone who has served for about 35 years to suffer due to the government negligence to pay their entitlements as a result of omission caused by the verification exercise.
The NLC Chairman Borno State Chapter `Titus Ali Abana` heard querying at this year’s workers day in Maiduguri “It is disheartening to note that government has refused to settle the backlog of gratuity from the year 2013 to date, even the ritual N150 Million being released monthly to settle retirees was stopped since 2015 which has multiplier effect on the retirees and their families”.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on its Unemployment and Underemployment Report 2017 shows Borno State Unemployment rates stands at 51.2%.
This report may not be unconnected with the Boko Haram crisis that is bedeviling the state, but the past and the present State Governments need to be blamed for not taking any measures to create jobs for the unemployed citizens, It will be a great achievement for the present Government if it can employ competent hands (Not via Godfatherism) to fill over 5000 slots made available by the verification exercise in the State Civil Service, Even dour last year the State Governor directed the Head of Service to recruit 300 Graduates in to the State Civil Service, But unfortunately the directives fades away “Story For The Gods”.