Refund Workers their Money, PDP Tells Obiano

…PDP is Lying, Govt, It’s the Govt that’s Lying – Workers

By Jude Atupulazi

The opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State has asked the Anambra State Government to refund workers’ monies deducted from their salaries, describing the deductions as irresponsible.

Addressing newsmen recently at the party’s secretariat in Awka, the state chairman, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, accused the Willie Obiano-led government of forcefully deducting monies from workers’ salaries for the recapitalization of Ndiolu Micro Finance Bank, following a memo by the Anambra State Government though the Head of Service.

‘We have it on good authority that the Head of Service in a memo to the Accountant General and Secretary, JAAC, on March 8, 2021, instructed that certain percentages of the workers’ salaries be deducted as their contributions to the stabilization of the troubled bank.

‘The Central Bank was said to have directed all micro finance banks in the country to raise their capital base before April 30.

‘We at PDP are genuinely concerned about the welfare of Anambra State civil servants who are coerced to part with certain percentages of their meagre take home salaries,’ the PDP said.

But reacting to this, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, dismissed PDP’s claims as lies.

He said that Ndiolu Microfinance Bank was neither owned by the state government nor had any relationship with the state government.

Adinuba said the bank was a private enterprise of workers in the state for those who wanted to recapitalize their bank and solely decided to raise money amongst themselves and agreed on how much each category of worker would contribute to the scheme.

He said the representatives of workers had approached the Head of Service, saying that certain amounts of money be deducted from the salaries of their members at source, the same way other associations and unions did theirs.

‘There’s no government input and the claim by the PDP that the scheme is an exploitative tendency is completely far from the truth,’ Adunuba said.

But government’s position is not shared by workers. Some of them who spoke to Fides on condition of anonymity, described government’s action as unwarranted, claiming that they were not consulted before the deductions were made.

One of them said, ‘Workers were not consulted. A memo was just brought on the deductions but it was leaked. The money they deduct, are they going to repay us later? What we are paid is little; yet they are deducting our money.

‘Why take money from those who have no business with the bank? Not every civil servant does business with the bank. I’ve never entered that bank since the 20 years I’ve been working. Government is lying. No worker is happy but what can we do?’ he queried, maintaining that government knew the truth.

Another civil servant, echoing the words of the first one, said their salaries were not enough to warrant any deductions. He said they were not shareholders in Ndiolu Micro Finance Bank but that if they were, they expected to be entitled to dividends which they were however not getting.

Meanwhile the PDP insisted the government had not done the right thing, noting that what the government, as a responsible government, should be doing was to think of ways to alleviate workers’ suffering, rather than increasing it through ‘illegal deductions from their salaries.’

It described it as insensitivity.