In what is referred to in Cross River State as the “Civil Servants Computer Acquisition Programme” and further that a letter with reference no, GO/HOS/591/Vol III/69, signed by a Permanent Secretary, Emeka Inaku, is requesting Commissioners in CRS to go to the office of the Head of Service for the collection of laptops on specified days, www.calitown.com exclusively looks at the HP 255 laptop, to be ‘given’ to CRS civil servants.
Sources inside government say this particular laptop supplied by Asaba, Delta state based FIRST BRIGHTWAY VISION LIMITED of Plot 1 SSS Junction, Off Anwai Road, Asaba, is coming with a 100% low cost AMD (Advanced Micro Device) processor, a 500 gigabyte HDD (Hard Disk Drive) as well as a 2 gigabyte RAM (Random Access Memory), considered the cheapest in systems. It also has a webcam, bluetooth function and a bag. For the 2 gigabyte RAM, “it is what laptops that carry out no serious work often come with and it is amazing that at a price of about N125, 000 to civil servants, the state cannot give her civil servants something worth the money they are charging”, an IT specialist volunteered. “I think those behind this scheme are eyeing the financial piece of cake because even though I hear that payment is staggered, there is for whoever, a massive N60, 000 profit per each unit of the 17, 000 or so laptops to be supplied when you consider the price in Calabar”, another source said.
Again, a few experts are insisting that no civil service rule empowers the Cross River State Government “to forcefully deduct salaries and compel her civil servants to buy goods or services. If the housing issue was and is still optional, why is the laptop issue compulsory?”, a source is asking.
“It is unfortunate that people are politicising the good intentions of a government committed to a paperless civil service but be assured that government will not succumb to this blackmail and throw out through the window, a lofty idea”, as one government source puts it. This may represent government’s position on the matter and further confirm that no hue and cry will reverse this decision on her part to arm her civil servants with computers, even if they be toys.
There is also another issue that is a part of this laptop issue that several civil servants are talking about; the fact that several of them already own laptops and don’t see any need to have several. Hear one: “I already have a laptop with an eight gigabyte RAM,why force me to get a smaller laptop with a two gigabyte RAM? It is like forcing me to buy a Beetle when I already have a brand new Mercedes Benz, it is a very unfair decision on the part of government and I hope those who stand to gain from the sale do realise that it is daylight robbery”. It is a more dire situation with hordes of civil servants in the state who are already bearing the weight of facilities obtained from banks. “I got a facility last year and the bank deducts N56, 000 from my salary every month and I am left with a paltry sum, now that this deduction for the laptop has been done, ask me again what my take home pay is? N15, 000, for a senior staff like me. I leave it to God”, a civil servant reacted. The same civil servant is unhappy that “Labour has not come out to say anything tangible, it does not even look like she is on the side of the civil servant. I do not know if the allegation making the rounds that she will benefit from this exercise can be shived aside when you consider Labour’s body language now”.Labour on her part has refused to be drawn into this issue as attempts to have officials say a thing or two yielded no results at the time of going to press.
For now, the exercise will go on and state civil servants can shout from Bakassi to Obanliku, there is a great chance that no one is listening and a sworn group of individuals will smile to tue bank.
© 2014, Admin. All rights reserved.