Governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo has revealed that the state government is owing pensioners N14 billion.
He made this known while inaugurating a nine-member committee for the State-Local Government Joint Account (JAAC) on Monday.
Soludo who inaugurated the committee shortly after the State Executive Council Meeting, at the Government House, Awka also stated that the government was going to employ over 4,000 teachers to rejig teaching and learning in the state.
“We are going to be employing over 4,000 teachers, it’ll be charged to JAAC. Meanwhile, you have over N14bn debt in terms of arrears to gratuity and pensions. Part of it we have started to pay and so on and so forth.
“The resources aren’t there. But at the same time, you are being called upon to do some very special disruptive function. It is going to be alot of hard work. Why do I say that? Because you are being called upon to do very disruptive work at a time of major challenges in the country. Major challenges in the finances of the state and local government and you’ve been called upon to find the solution”.
According to the governor, the local system is largely two folds including its financing and administration, noting that the state would set up the local government administration.
He added that the administration of the local government was a bit challenging as the infrastructure in the various local governments including the ones that have been burnt down needed to be repaired.
“For us we have a vision to have responsibility devolve to base and to have local government that is empowered from the base, to deliver development to the grassroot. And consequently, the finances that are very limited will have to be run in a different way.
“We have a peculiar local government system where the staff and other obligations of the local government are pulled together on local government autonomy,
“I hear people talk about autonomy. If you want to implement a strict autonomy, it’ll mean that each local government will employ and pay its staff. That’s what it’ll mean but this is not the case. That’s why you find someone in Idemili working in Ayamelum and someone from Ayamelum working in Nnewi South because they have a pool system,” he said.
ThecCommittee is headed by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mr. Collins Nwabunwanne while the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ifeatu Onejeme, serves as the Vice Chairman and Dr. Leopold Arinze Nwankwo-Ikwueto, Secretary.
Other members include Barr. Ifeatu Obiokoye, member representing Central Senatorial Zone, Dr. Nnamdi Nwadiogbu, member representing North Senatorial Zone, Sir Van George Ezeogudi, member representing South Senatorial Zone, Dr. Chibuike Ofobuike, member and Transition Committee Chairman representing South Zone.
Others are Mrs. Amaka Obi, member and Transition Committee Chairman, representing Central Zone, Mr. Livinus Onyenwe, member and Transition Committee Chairman representing North Zone.
In a vote of thank, Chairman of Transition Committee Chairmen, Mr. Livinus Onyenwe who spoke onbehalf of other members of the committee, thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve in that capacity, pledging to work round the clock to efficiently deliver service to Ndi Anambra.