The inability to pay June salaries of government workers is generating tension and agitation across the various states of the federation, the Nigeria Labour Congress has stated.
This followed the deadlocked meetings of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee over the shortfall in revenue remitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to the federation account.
The NLC Secretary-General, Peter Ozo-Eson, informed newsmen on Saturday that the situation was putting the states under stress because the FAAC was their main source of revenue through which they meet their financial obligations.
He disclosed that state chairmen of NLC had been calling the labour centre to complain about the delayed salaries.
Ozo-Eson therefore called for a quick resolution of the issues by the FAAC and NNPC, noting that it was crucial for the dispute and controversy over the revenue shortage to be resolved as quickly as possible.
The NLC secretary added, “The failure of FACC to share the allocation is causing stress on states because for many states, that is the substantial source of their revenue. If the FAAC issue cannot be resolved, it is going to create tension.
“I got calls from a number of states yesterday (Friday) where our state chairmen were agitated because of the inability to pay salaries by the government. For us, the crucial matter is for the FAAC issue to be resolved quickly, transparently so that states can meet their financial obligations.”
Commenting on the reported shortfall in revenue by the NNPC, the NLC called for an audit of the corporation, stressing that the agency must be made accountable in its handling of remittance to the federation account.
Ozo-Eson added, “We have publicly taken in the past position that the NNPC must be made transparent and accountable in the handling of payments into the federation account.
“The arrangement in which the NNPC started taking without appropriation, the process of subsidy payments is a recipe for unaccountability and lack of transparency.
“We believe that what needs to be done is that a proper audit should be done of the NNPC to determine whatever it had held back from the federation account because it is not its money; it is not even the money of the Federal Government.”
The NLC argued that it was illegal for the corporation to allocate funds to fuel subsidy without appropriation, adding that it should be made to refund whatever it had spent if indicted by an audit probe.
“It is the money that belonged to all the states and the local government and nothing short of a transparent accountability and refund of whatever has been held back in the past is going to be sufficient,” the congress stated.
Meanwhile, as of the close of work on Friday, only 17 out of the 36 states in the country confirmed to newsmen that they had paid their workers, for the month of June.
The states are Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Enugu, Anambra, Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Zamfara and Katsina
It was also confirmed from civil servants in Ondo, Taraba, Abia, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Osun, Imo, Oyo, Ekiti, Kogi, Benue, Niger and Nasarawa states that their June salaries had not been paid.
Investigations revealed that the Anambra State civil servants received their salaries on June 25 from funds raised through the state’s Internally Generated Revenue.
The governor, Willie Obiano, told newsmen that the state currently had the capacity to pay its workers for the next six months without recourse to the federal allocation.
He said, “The state is financially stable because of its strategic planning, sound economic principles and prudent management of resources.”
Investigations revealed that while many workers in Ogun State civil service had received payment alerts from their banks as of Friday, local governments’ staff and the public school teachers had yet to be paid.
The Chairman, Trade Union Congress in the state, Mr. Olubunmi Fajobi, said, “The Ogun State Government commenced the payment of June salaries to civil servants on Thursday but the local government workers and the teachers have yet to get their own salary alerts.”
The Chairman, Katsina State chapter of the NLC, Tanimu Saulawa, said, “The Katsina State Government is able to pay the June salary to workers because it saves for rainy day. This shows that the government is committed to the welfare of workers.”
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Charles Udoh, said the state was able to pay its workers as a result of the prudent and creative management of its resources by governor Udom Emmanuel.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Bauchi State Governor, Abubabakar Al-Sadique, said the state government was able to pay the June salaries to its workers because it blocked all avenues hitherto being used to siphon the state resources.
He said, “We blocked all loopholes and leakages in the system and all avenues for siphoning government money through a series of verification.”
In Bayelsa State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Maxwell Ibibai, said, “Governor Seriake Dickson directed the immediate sourcing of funds to address the salary concerns of civil servants.”
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, said his administration was able to pay the June salaries of its workers through its careful financial engineering.
The Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State, Alhaji Demola Banu, said the state government got the money from alternative sources without elaborating.
The Special Assistant to Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, Ibrahim Dosara, told newsmen the state was the first to pay June salary to its workforce.
He said, “We have an irrevocable arrangement for our salary to be paid on the 25th of every month. This shows that we are a frugal and not a wasteful government.”
However, civil servants in Sokoto State, who had earlier got a month salary in advance to celebrate the Eid-el-fitr, were still expecting alerts for the two-thirds of their salaries as of Friday.
The state government had paid the one month extra salary to each of the workers with a condition that it would be deducted from their salaries within three months.
In Enugu State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said his government paid the June salaries to its workers because of its commitment to the well-being of the people of the state.
The Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said governor Godwin Obaseki ensured that all civil servants were paid their salaries out of the IGR and other sources of income for the state.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, equally said his administration was able to pay the workers their June salaries as a result of its prudent management of its lean resources.