By Dipo Olowookere
The government of Kwara State has described as false and misleading, claims in some quarters that the sum of N1.4 billion is deducted monthly from local government allocations to pay staff of the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB).
Commenting on this, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Demola Banu, said in a statement issued on Tuesday that N1.1 billion was required every month to pay SUBEB staff, comprising primary and junior secondary school teachers.
He noted that the amount was N1.2 billion before the staff verification exercise was conducted by the State government last year.
However, Mr Banu, noted that N900 milliom is often appropriated for this purpose by the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC), which is operated among the 16 local government councils in the state, due to reduced allocation to the local councils from the federal government. He added that allocation to SUBEB is statutorily treated as a first line charge.
He also disclosed that N579, 970, 740.32 is required monthly to pay salaries of local government workers, while the monthly requirement to pay local government pensioners stands at N355, 925, 249.52.
The Commissioner further emphasized that shortage of funds has made it difficult for local councils in the state to meet their monthly salary obligations, noting that this is responsible for the lingering salary crisis experienced at the local government level.
He also reiterated that the Kwara State government does not interfere with the finances of the local governments, stressing that salary delay at the third tier of government is caused by drop in allocation due to drop in global crude oil prices.
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