The governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has started making multifaceted efforts to attend to the needs of workers in the state who are being owed backlog of salaries without leaving any stone unturned.
Reports reaching The Street Journal indicated that all things being equal, the state government will offset the large chunk of the salary arrears of the Osun state’ civil servants, before the end of July.
Government officials from Osun State in separate chats with our correspondents affirmed that the state government has been seeking different avenues for paying the amount it owed its workers and will ensure part payments very soon.
Aregbesola, while explaining reasons he has been finding it difficult to pay the salaries of workers said “In fact, the state inherited 50 per cent of all the workers in the old western state and more than 75 per cent in the old Oyo State.
“I was meeting my wage bill of over N3.6 billion with N4.6 billion federal allocation until July, 2013 when the Federal Government announced a decline of about 40 per cent allocation to states.
“This reduced the state’s allocation from N4.6 billion with which I was meeting my bills to N2.6 billion. Since then, Osun has had to augment salaries by sometimes N1 billion, sometimes N1.6 billion.”
“Banks have stopped lending money to Osun state government after it accumulated a loan of N24 billion to pay salaries.
“The challenge I face today was not my making, it is a national problem. I borrowed N24 billion to pay salaries, but when the banks say I cannot borrow again, there is nothing I can do in the face of dwindling revenue accruing to the state,”
“I am not shifting blame and I bear responsibility, but it was a responsibility the Nigerian state forced on me. I am still labouring physically and spiritually to pay the workers’ salary,”
He said despite raising the internally generated revenues (IGR) from N900 million annually to N3.6 billion he was yet to pay workers’ salary because the banks were not forthcoming on further loans.
The governor of the State of Osun made this known in Abuja Weekend at the annual Ramadan Lecture of the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society of Nigeria with the theme “Ramadan: Changing Positively”.
He however said that contrary to reports, local governments and other categories of workers were being paid and not owed except workers under the state’s civil service commission.
“How can anyone accuse me of mismanaging the resources of the state when my campaign promises was based on populace welfare and infrastructural development?
“By God’s Grace I have delivered on most of the promises. Initially it was thought that only Osun owed workers salary, but it can be seen that it is a national issue and that 23 of the 36 states of the federation owed their workers” he said.
He however assured his people that he was working tirelessly to ensure that those being owed are paid”