A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the North Central zone has revealed that state governments still owe workers in spite of the bailout funds provided by the Federal Government.
The survey also found that all debt-ravaged states that collected the Federal Government intervention fund as well as the Paris Club loan refund still owe some categories of workers salary arrears.
In Benue, for example, NAN learnt that the state government owes state and local government workers seven months and 10 months’ salary arrears respectively.
They were said to have received salaries last in May 2017 and February 2017.
Sources at the state Ministry of Finance indicated that the state government had received N12.5 million and N6.8 billion in the first and second instalments of the Paris Club refund.
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue blamed government’s inability to settle workers’ salaries on huge wage bill, which he said was “too weighty” for the resources available to the state.
Ortom said that the wage bill was about N8 billion, adding that a committee had been set up to determine the veracity of the list of government workers.
Similarly, in Kogi, where the government was said to have received more than N6 billion in the second tranche of the Paris Club refund, workers are being owed many months in salary arrears.
Mr Petra Akinti-Onyegbule, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Yahaya Bello, told NAN that the government was doing everything possible to settle salaries owed workers.
NAN learnt that some workers received 60 per cent of their salaries in the last four months of 2017 (September to December) while others were being owed between 11 months and 22 months respectively.
In Taraba, NAN survey also showed that some workers had received their salaries up to December 2017 while others were still being owed many months in salary arrears.
Also affected are the state’s pensioners, whose Chairman, Hassan Abubakar, said that his members were owed gratuities totalling N14.9 billion.
“The state government owes its pensioners N9 billion, while local government pensioners are owed N5.9 billion in gratuities.”
Conversely, in Plateau, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Jibrin Bancir, confirmed that the state government was not owing any worker.
In Nasarawa State, Mr Abdullahi Adeka, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said that civil servants were being owed only one month salary arrears.
Adeka told NAN that staff salaries March 2017 was outstanding.
He also explained disclosed that some workers, who participated in the industrial action called by the NLC last year, were not paid for two months as the state government invoked the “no work, no pay” policy.