The Forum of Finance Commissioners in the country, yesterday, criticised state governors who are owing workers’ salaries. They said that no governor had any excuse for owing.
The Chairman of the Forum and Commissioner for Finance in Ebonyi State, Mr. Timothy Odaah, who spoke at the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in Abuja, told journalists that those owing should be held responsible by the workers and the public. He said such governors should have made payment of salaries their priority, rather than spending state funds on electioneering campaigns.
“Why should states be owing workers’ salaries when they have been regularly collecting their statutory allocations from the Federation Account? We hear of some states owing 11 months, nine months, seven and so on. What have they been doing with their allocations? And workers have been looking at them!
“Payment of salaries is not an achievement. It is not a thing that a governor would pay when he likes. The salaries are built into the allocations that the states collect every month and so the governors are supposed to pay regularly as a priority. So why should they not pay? Governors must pay salaries. Salaries must be a priority.
“Look at Ebonyi State, as poor as it is, we are not owing workers. Even the workers agitated for an upward review last month and our governor even approved it, paying according to the federal structure. So why should any state owe and where has the money the states have been collecting gone to?
“The press should take this up and give them the heat. They were able to fund their elections and then workers are being owed up to this moment.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, lamented the drop in the federal revenue. “Frequent shut down and shut-in of trunks and pipelines at Terminals continued to impact negatively on crude oil revenue,” he said.
The Federal, State and Local Governments shared N388 billion for May expenditure. The FG got N142.941 billion; state governments, N103.089; while the local governments got a total of N76.917 billion.
Oil producing states got an additional N 23.109 billion representing 13 percent derivation from oil revenue in the month under consideration.