Anambra Govt Renovates Secretariat, Explains Payroll Verification Exercise

Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Anambra State Secretariat Complex in Awka is currently wearing a new look due to ongoing renovation. Prior to the exercise, the condition of the complex was deplorable: corrugated floors, leaking roofs, bad toilets and conveniences, dilapidated office apparatuses, and epileptic power supply. In order to address such shortcomings, Governor Willie Obiano embarked on rehabilitative works on the old and new buildings so as to bestow the complex a befiting status as the nerve centre and engine room of Anambra state economy.
As at press time, one of the workers who spoke with our correspondent at the complex regarding the ongoing renovation, Engr.Oluwadare Ajibola Samuel, a representative of O-Ben Developers, said they were renovating the block A and B axis and that the project commenced about a week ago. He said, “There were a lot of cracked walls inside. We also rectified electrical faults and we also worked on faulty air-conditioners. There are lots of leakages in the roofs; so we changed a lot of things. We changed the roofs and also changed some sinks there to make sure that everything is perfect . So there is no more leakage there. We are also replacing the interlocks with stamping concretes to make the place more beautiful.” He said he was not from Anambra state but what he had seen in the state so far really made him believe that the governor was indeed working assiduously to place Anambra at a vantage position for other states to emulate.
Be that as it may, the Head of Service of the Anambra State Civil Service, Barr. Harry Uduh, said it was in tandem with Governor Willie Obiano’s philosophy of a conducive, convenient as well as habitable work environment where workers were expected to ensure maximum productivity.
The Head of Service said, “Governor Willie Obiano is interested in the welfare and well-being of workers. Apart from salaries and wages, you are as good as your work environment. This place has not been renovated for more than 12 years. And he saw the need to upgrade the look so that it will also help the psyche of those who work in a clean and conducive environment. If you work in a dirty environment, it will affect your psyche and quality of your work.
“So in this case and in spite of paucity of funds, he undertook massive renovation of the place. The structure in block A, for instance, was donated by the federal government and nothing has been done there since 1991. Internally also, the facilities are also being repaired and replaced. And to complement that, facility managers have been engaged to make sure that the standard of cleanliness and decency expected is maintained.”
Uduh further stated that in spite of too many contending needs, the governor decided to deploy resources to upgrade the state secretariat. As part of measures to address erratic power supply at the secretariat, the Head of Service explained that the governor recently commissioned the Awka Sub-station of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company which he believes would help supply constant electricity to the place.
Also he noted that there was an effort to get electricity from the Awka station of the Central Bank of Nigeria dedicated centre and that the governor had equally made provisions for the purchase of bigger generators for the secretariat and government house respectively and to complement others together with other long term power initiatives intended to address power outages at the complex.
Uduh added that workers in the employ of the state government had no reason not to be happy with the governor’s developmental strides especially as it concerned their welfare and upkeep,  adding that Anambra state ranked top on workers’ welfare and better conditions of service. He said while the governor was beautifying the secretariat complex, there was need also to ascertain as well as identify those on the state government’s payroll to avoid leakages and wastage in the state work force. This according to him, prompted the on-going workers’ verification exercise which also includes political appointees.
The Head of Service stated that the payroll verification was a routine exercise not intended to witch-hunt any employee of the government. He said the last payroll verification exercise was conducted in 2016 but emphasized that it was necessary that government conducted it so as to ensure that those being paid salaries really deserved to be paid even as he pointed out that with the imminence of the new national minimum wage, the payroll verification was necessary to ensure proper implementation.
He said government was making frantic efforts to instill discipline and integrity into the payroll system of the government stressing that it was the duty of public servants to identify and report colleagues who took to truancy and redundancy at the workplace. The Head of Service however re-echoed the fact that the payroll verification exercise would not preclude any worker from getting his salaries but to help regulate the payroll system of the government to guard against loss of revenues.

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