Local government workers under the aegis of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Kwara state have rejected a N1billion allocated to pay part of their outstanding salaries from the N5.12billion that accrued to the state under the Paris loan refund.
In a statement NULGE, directed the state government not to credit the said sum into the account of the councils unless it meets with a 75 percent of the N5.12 billion which they claimed was allegedly agreed between governors and the federal government before the release of the refund.
But Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed is billed meet with the aggrieved workers and other stakeholders on how to share the allocation. The meeting, which was announced by Dr. Muideen Akorede, senior special assistant on media to the governor, will be coming after an earlier announcement of the allocation of N1 billion to offset local government workers salaries and N312 million for tertiary institutions in the state.
The statement signed by Comrade Oloruntoba Ibikunle reads: “the state council of NULGE received with rude shock and utmost dismay the release by the state commissioner for finance on the approval of the sum of N1billion from the second tranche of the Paris refund where Kwara was allocated N5.12 billion.
“The announcement is quite unfortunate, disgraceful and a flagrant display of gross insensitivity to the plight of he already impoverished staff that are dieing (sic) by the day due to the effect of nonpayment of workers salaries.
“The Paris club refund is a much awaited temporary succour by workers in the local government only for the announcement to turn into another devastating bombshell.
“Indication abound that other States like Abia, Ogun, Ekiti among others had complied with the 75 percent agreement reached between the governors and federal government to defray salaries.
“One then wonders why the Kwara state issue will be a far cry from what is applicable in other States. For purpose of analysis, 75 percent of N5.12billion amounts to N3.8 billion and not the N1 billion released to local governments by the state.
“The Union therefore wishes to vehemently reject the N1 billion offer and advise the state government in the interest of industrial peace and harmony not to credit the account of the local government as this will definitely cause embarrassment for the state government. “
But Akorede, while speaking a radio programme yesterday said that the governor, who is currently in Abuja for the National Economic Council meeting, will meet with the labour leaders and leaders of thought when he returns to the State.
He said the meeting will decide whether the whole money should be used to pay part of local government workers’ salaries only or be shared among local government workers, SUBEB staff, LG pensioners, state pensioners, tertiary institutions and as subventions to parastatals in the State.
The governor’s aide added that the meeting will also determine what proportion of the money should go towards programs for the welfare of all citizens and workers.