The Bauchi State government has given reasons for the non-inclusion of allowances in the June salaries of local government workers and teachers in the state. In a statement signed by Hamisu Dori, Permanent Secretary, Establishment and Servicom Matters, the governor attributed the development to shortfall in fund.
“The total amount received as allocation to the local government councils could not settle the whole salaries, allowances, overhead cost, pension and gratuity. As a result of this inadequacy, the only viable option, in the circumstances, was to pay only the basic salary and rent allowances in the interim,” it said.
Government further said that the exercise was done in good faith to enable the affected workers take care of their immediate financial needs. It assured the workers that the unpaid allowances had not been written off and would be paid immediately fund is available.
“In the interim, local government employees are enjoined to be patient and appreciate the circumstance of the moment, with the hope that the situation improves soon,” it added. Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Bauchi, Comrade Hashimu Gital and Isa Jana’are, Chairman of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in the state, had on Sunday addressed a press conference condemning the action of the government.
Speaking on the issue earlier when he hosted heads of media establishments, the state governor, Mohammed Abubakar, lamented that the local government councils had been accumulating debts as they had to borrow to pay salaries and allowances. He said the councils borrowed not less than N1billion monthly to settle entitlements of workers, adding that unless something was done, the debt burden would create problems in future.
He said that as governor of the state, he felt that something should be done to stabilise the situation. Abubakar said the people came up with solutions that would help tackle the situation. The governor also chided some people opposing his moves to address the problem, saying that the same people could not do anything when the previous administration in the state refused to pay three months salary. The governor also denied reports that the federal government gave money to the state to pay backlog of salaries.
Governor Abubakar, who spoke during a Ramadan Tafsir, said he received a text message from a citizen who accused him of deliberately refusing to settle salary arrears of workers, “despite collecting money from President Muhammad Buhari”. He added: “He accused me of causing unnecessary hardship. As I am talking to you, nobody has given me a single kobo. It was through our efforts that we were able to pay last month’s salary”.
He said it was not government’s wish to give excuses, but that the past administration left the state in a financial mess. Governor Abubakar said arrangements were being made to pay salaries before Sallah.