By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Contrary to certain media reports, the Kwara State Government on Wednesday maintained that it has fully paid all categories of workers and pensioners at the state level.
According to the state Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Demola Banu, the State government is up to date with payment of salaries and pensions to the State workers and retirees.
Banu clarified that salary delays only exist at the local government level due to the decline in allocations accruing to that tier of government from the federation account.
He further noted that the local councils receive separate allocations from the federal government and that they owe varying degrees of staff salary and pension arrears. According to Banu, local government staff are owed varying degrees of arrears and not eleven months as falsely reported, adding that while the salary crisis at the LG is unfortunate, the situation is reflective of the current national economic downturn which has limited the capacity of governments at all levels to meet salary obligations.
Banu also noted that the State government had on different occasions assisted the local councils by augmenting their allocation to enhance their capacity to pay salaries.
The Commissioner disclosed that the State government would use its share of the second tranche of the Paris Club refund when received to assist the councils to clear part of their outstanding salary and pension arrears. Banu recalled that the State government released the sum of N3.4bn to the local councils as their share of the first tranche received by the State.