Independent investigations by www.calitown.com have revealed that the Cross River State civil service will within the next three weeks, lose more than 16,000 civil servants to retirements from service in a move poised to possibly cripple the state civil service.
The bulk of the retirements it was discovered, will largely affect those who joined the service in 1988 and have duly clocked 35 years in service, while the rest of those retiring are people who have clocked the biological retirement age of 60 years. There also exist, a small percentage of persons who are voluntarily leaving the service for medical reasons or in search of greener pastures.
While out-going state governor, Ben Ayade, may have announced the lifting of the ban on employment, it was again discovered that in the eight years his administration has been in place, no concrete initiatives were in place to save the state service from the imminent collapse that she now faces.
“We had a payroll system put in place by administrations before Ayade, showing us on the payslips when each civil servant is retiring from service. It helped prepare our minds and also helped government plan for a seamless replacement process, after identifying vacancies in areas of the service. This administration looked the other way and did nothing deliberate to identify and fill up vacant positions, see where we are now. As I speak with you, I have retired from service and my salary stopped, but I was asked to hold on because if I hand in the keys of my office, this place will cease to function”, one new retiree who has elected to remain anonymous, told us.
While government recently offered a glimmer of hope with the lifting of the embargo on employment and even issued forms to candidates interested in joining the service, the process was wrought with visible inadequacies not fitting of a recruitment process into the state civil service. Many watchers believe the Ayade administration was cunningly using this dead on arrival recruitment exercise for pure political gains. It was also accused of lumping recruitment in favour of the governor’s local government of origin, to the anger of many who prefer a more professional and credible approach to recruitment.
We also gathered that most of the retirees will have a hard time getting their pensions and gratuities considering the huge backlog of unpaid gratuities and pensions the administration is leaving behind. “The Paris Funds were given to our government as bailout funds to help pay pensions and gratuities but they were deployed elsewhere or in some cases, people close to this government were discreetly picked and paid gratuities while several of us have been left to roast under the sun. Now that a huge retiring number has been added to this list of retirees who have not been paid their entitlements, you can just imagine where misdirection is taking all of us to”, we were also told.
At the Office of the Accountant General, CRS, unknown to most top government officials, a syndicate operates within the office, promising to fastrack the enrollment of names of retirees into the pensions payment list for a fee. While most exit poised civil servants have keyed in and parted with huge sums of money, there are no guarantees that this corrupt system will roll in their favour.
“Please don’t mention my name, but I can tell you for free that some retirees who were discreetly paid some money, agreed to part with a percentage of the money before they were paid”, we were told.
Another twist to the story.
“It will shock you to discover that as this administration is winding down, most commissioners have become restless because several applications for funds that bear their names on paper, have been cleared from the banks without their knowledge. What simply happened was that, when these applications were made, the governor did not immediately mandate the banks to pay. Later when the mandates were given, someone in the governor’s inner circle, stepped in and mopped up the cash expertly, leaving the commissioners and permanent secretaries who signed those applications running from pillar to post to retire funds they didn’t access. It is a conduit that has made it impossible for this administration to lump sums together and pay entitlements to mostly retirees”, we were again told.
With the Ayade administration counting exit days on her fingers, eight years after, her policy outcomes appear not to be as eloquent as his speeches and promises. In fact, the believe is that the issues of and around the state civil service will be back breaking for the Bassey Otu administration.
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