Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State, has declared that he does not need more than 200 workers in his state civil service.
Daily Independent reports that Okorocha said that the gargantuan wage bill of the state amounts to shortchanging generations unborn.
He said he would prefer to engage more people in the productive sectors of the economy like agriculture rather than maintain a bloated civil service.
“I don’t need more than 200 workers at the civil service of Imo State but I need more than 100,000 in the agricultural sector of the state. It’s like if this nation makes $1 trillion every day and ends up paying salaries with it, there still will be no progress,” he said, adding that “unless we address those basic issues and get people to work in the productive sector of the economy, we cannot make any headway.”
He said currently the state spends 70 percent of its total revenue – internally generated (IGR) and federal allocation on workers and pensions, while 30 percent goes for development.
“If I have 70 percent of money that comes to the state for capital expenditure, Imo State would look like London in the next five years,” he noted.
Okorocha explained that no civil service workforce requires more than a 1000 at most 2000 persons to run its affairs under the present technology driven world, lamenting that in most cases 12, 000 persons are in the civil service, with 80 percent of them doing nothing.
“Public service is not welfarism, unless we are having a welfare state, where people can sit down and expect money. We have what is called governance by investment and not people sitting down and collecting money because that money they collect does not aid production.”
Okorocha specifically cited the health sector which he said is not working, which, according to him, he has spent over N16 billion in the past four years.
“I found the health sector of Imo State not doing well and I found out that I have spent over N16 billion within four years in paying health workers, yet no hospital was working. Meanwhile, doctors have their private clinics working very well and nurses have their shops working but none of the government’s hospitals were working and people are dying.”
He said Imo State currently gets about N4 billion to N5 billion monthly as against some other states like Akwa Ibom getting up to N25 billion monthly, that 80 percent of the state fund goes for recurrent expenditure.
“So, that’s the problem we have. And those people are not being productive. We are not saying that people should not work. When they are qualified, can they work in the productive sector of the economy rather than the cashiering and consuming sector of the economy in the name of welfarism or workers’ welfare,” he noted.