By Dipo Olowookere
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern on the growing complaints and agitations by workers in states over unpaid salaries and allowances despite interventions by the Federal Government.
Mr Buhari, while receiving a group of Governors led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdul’Aziz Abubakar Yari, on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja, lamented that the plight of workers in the states need urgent attention as many could barely survive.
He asked, “How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months?”
“I actually wonder how the workers feed their families, pay their rents and even pay school fees for their children,” Mr Buhari expressed.
The President told the Governors that two out of the three-pronged focus of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to secure the country and fight corruption had received some commendable reviews by the people, noting that the challenge in payment of salaries in states had taken a toll on the people.
“God has been merciful in hearing the prayers of his servants so the rainy season has been good, you can ask the Kebbi State governor on this, and our enormous food importation bill has gone down,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
President Buhari further said the Federal Government and state executives would need to work closer together to ameliorate the situation of workers across the country.
Mr Buhari said he had instructed all government agencies to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in order to ensure more transparency and prudence in accounting for the revenues of the government and the sharing of entitlements with states.
In his remark, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum said the various interventions by the Federal Government, which include the bailouts, were judiciously utilized by the states, stressing that the governors inherited backlog of unpaid salaries and huge debts portfolios on assumption of office.
“We are concerned with the situation in our states, and we are trying our best to manage the resources,” he said.
Mr Yari noted that the bailout funds, and part of the fallout from the London-Paris Club that had been received by the states, were properly expended to alleviate the plight of workers, but more had to be done.
The NGF chairman commended the efforts of the President in improving the economy, assuring that the states would continue working with the Federal Government to improve the livelihood of workers and all Nigerians.
Governors of Ondo, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kwara, Akwa Ibom and the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State were part of the visit to the President.
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