IS ENUGU STATE GOVT GOING BANKRUPT?
BY EUGINIA EKE
Enugu State Government appears to be in a serious financial crisis as the state currently hardly meets its financial obligations, even as the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is busily engaged in reckless spending.
For instance, for quite some time, civil servants in the state no longer receive their salaries as at when due, while retired workers are owed several months backlog of pensions. Also, those who rendered services to the state administration are being owed, as inside sources reveal that all these were due to scarcity of funds.
Some civil servants were overheard openly complaining that they no longer receive their monthly salaries as at when due, which has made their future become uncertain.
According to one of the workers, during the admnistration of former Governor Sullivan Chime, they were receiving salaries on or before the 23rd of every month, while Governor Ugwuanyi administration shifted it to the last day of the month, adding that right now, nobody knows when salaries were going to come.
He stated that since the beginning of this year, Enugu State workers had not received salaries earlier than the 7th of the following month, which makes many of them become apprehensive that sooner or later these salaries may no longer be forthcoming.
The man lamented that it is becoming increasingly difficult for majority of them to get credit facilities from their customers or borrow money from friends or relations, because nobody is sure when the next salaries would be paid.
In like manner, many of the people who rendered different services to the state government equally complain about non-payment of their bills long after they had delivered the jobs and certificates of completion issued to them.
According to one of the contractors who spoke on condition of anonymity, he had been frequenting the Office of the State Accountant General for payment for the job he delivered more than six months ago, but each time he came he would be asked to come back again, since the state government had no money with which to pay.
The man further stated that he was shown piles of files containing various requests from other contractors, but that the state government was not able to meet those requests due to paucity of funds.
According to him, he had just been informed that the state government was requesting for loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enable it meet some of its pressing needs, having already exhausted the limit of overdraft facilities from its bankers.
Commenting on the precarious situation which the Enugu State Government currently finds itself, Mr. Ephraim Okafor, a financial analyst, explained that once a government has been unable to meet its basic statutory financial obligations, it could be said to have gone bankrupt.
He revealed that at the moment, Enugu State has been saddled with very huge foreign and domestic debts, which definitely is going to be a big burden to the next administration. He pointed out that as at March this year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the domestic debt of Enugu State, stood at N68,855,130,073.45.
The financial analyst bemoaned the financial recklessness of the State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who in spite of the very poor economic standing of the state, has continued to throw money about.
Everyday, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will be spending quality time at the Government House, Enugu, receiving endless stream of sponsored “Solidarity visits,” who will be handsomely rewarded with millions of naira as “transport fare”.
Governor Ugwuanyi also dishes out appointment letters everyday to anybody who comes his way, with the hope that the people will deliver him during next year’s elections.