By Steve Oni, Ilorin
In fulfilment of his pledge to ensure that backlog of salaries of all categories of workers in the state becomes a thing of the past, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has approved the release of additional N1billion to local government areas to enable them pay a month salary.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, who briefed newsmen after a meeting between the governor and labour leaders in Ilorin, the approval of the additional N1billion followed the consent of the state House of Assembly to government proposal on the matter.
Dr. Akorede said the state government stepped down such projects as construction of classrooms, renovation of the indoor sport hall among others to allow for payment of the local government workers, adding that the initial N1billion given to the local government councils was to carter for Local Government workers and Pensioners while the additional N1billion was meant for State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
The governor, according to his media aide, emphasised that the Paris Club refund had been appropriated in 2017 budget, saying that the Federal Government directed states of the federation that fashioned the refund in the 2017 budget to spend 75 per cent of the fund towards salaries payment.
He said the governor told the labour leaders that the protects stepped down would be prioritised in the subsequent inflows and appealed to the unions to be mindful of their approaches in agitating for anything and always employ dialogue in driving home their grievances.
Governor Ahmed also called on the National Assembly to review the revenue sharing formula in favour of states and local governments to enable them meet their financial obligations, while appealing to the Federal Government to take over funding of basic education for efficient and effective management.
Reacting to the additional release of N1b to SUBEB, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Yekin Agunbiade, state President, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Comrade Musa Abubakar and Deputy President, Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Comrade Oloruntade Ibikunle in their separate submissions expressed gratitude to the governor for the kind gesture.
The labour leaders who described the governor as a listening person, explained that they were going back home as fulfilled labour leaders.
According to them; “Our agitation is that Local Government workers including SUBEB and Pensioners are not adequately taken care of but the governor out of his magnanimity approved additional N1billion.”
“With this, all categories of staff including pensioners will be able to get a month full salary and I think that is a welcome development”, he added.