By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has approved the release of additional N1 billion to local government councils in the state to offset part of the outstanding salary arrears owed their staff.
Mr Ahmed gave the approval on Monday at a meeting with officials of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the state.
This is as the Governor also assured tertiary institutions in the State that the issue of delayed subvention will become a thing of the past.
Monday’s release of N1 billion now brings to N2 billion the total amount of money the state government has approved to local government councils out of the N5.1 billion it recently received as its share of the Paris Club refund from the Federal Government.
The Governor had also earlier approved the release of N312 million to state-owned-tertiary institutions for the payment of salary arrears.
Mr Ahmed stated that the earlier N1 billion released to the councils should go towards payment of LG workers and pensioners, while the additional N1 billion should be used to pay staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
He further noted that the decision to release additional N1 billion to the councils was based on an understanding with the State House of Assembly during a meeting held earlier in the day as the Paris Club refund receipts were state funds captured in the 2017 budget.
The Governor added that the decision was also based on the understanding with state legislators that some of the projects budgeted for implementation in this fiscal year, such as the renovation of the indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium, payment of counterpart funding for the construction of classrooms at the primary school level and other payments to State’s pensioners and workers will be suspended in favour of the Local government and SUBEB workers.
Governor Ahmed, however, emphasized that any further inflow to the state government under the Paris Club refund would be used to take care of salaries, pensions and projects that have now been stepped down.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues who were at the meeting, Kwara State NLC Chairman, Comrade Yekeen Agunbiade said the labour leaders are grateful to the governor for acceding to their request by approving additional funds to the local councils as this will bring relief to workers and pensioners.
Similarly, the heads of tertiary institutions in the state, earlier today called to commend Governor Ahmed for approving the release of N312.2 million to the institutions to offset salary arrears of their workers.
They, however, appealed to the Governor to hasten the release of the fourth quarter subvention to the institutions.
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