The Oyo State Government says it has set aside a N200 million special grant on monthly basis to assist state-owned institutions in off-setting their outstanding salary arrears.

The State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, said this in a statement in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the institutions are The Polytechnic Ibadan, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo and The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa.

Others are The Oke–Ogun Polytechnic, Saki, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igbo-Ora and The College of Education, Lanlate.

Toye said that the first installment of the special grant would be released in March with the month’s allocation.

He reiterated that the assistance covered 2016 and 2017 outstanding salaries, while 2018 would be paid fully by each institution.

The statement also quoted Mrs Olawumi Ogunesan, the Head of Service, as saying the action was part of the decisions agreed on when Gov. Abiola Ajimobi met with the governing councils and heads of the six state-owned tertiary institutions on Monday.

Ogunesan said that government had agreed to assist in off-setting the outstanding salaries within 32 months, adding that the institutions were autonomous by the law establishing them.

“The governing council of each institution is responsible for payment of salaries and allowances as entrenched in its laws.

“Government, therefore, is committed to provision of assistance to each institution.

“Consequent upon submission of Reports by KPMG Advisory Services on Financial Sustainability Review of each Institution, the governing councils pleaded with government to assist in defraying the backlog of salaries arrears owed till December 2017.

“Government resolved to assist the institutions to defray the backlog of salary arrears up to December 2017 to ensure the fiscal sustainability of each institution.

“Government, however, directed that the wage bills of all the institutions be audited and the audit report presented ahead of any assistance.

“Government has verified and confirmed the total salary indebtedness to the institutions totaling N6.8billion representing the outstanding salary spanning January 2016 to December 2017.

“Government decided that due to paucity of funds, it shall set aside additional sum of N200 million special grant on a monthly basis to assist the institutions in off-setting the outstanding arrears,” Ogunesan was quoted as saying.

She noted that the outstanding of N4billion for LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, presented at the meeting would be treated separately, noting that another meeting would be held within the next 14 days.

Ogunesan said the meeting would be between Oyo and Osun States and was to work out modalities for settling the outstanding arrears.

NAN reports that workers in the institutions had staged several protests over the nonpayment of their arrears.

The State Government also reduced the subvention due to the institutions, calling on them to generate revenue to shore up the shortfall.

Ogunesan said the resultant effect of the reduction in subvention had led to the payment of half salaries to workers and the accumulated arrears.

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