Sunday, June 5, 2016 7:29 pm
The Ondo state government has called on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress to mobilise workers in the country to join in the growing clamour for the restructuring of the country to put an end to the trend of inability of government in the states to pay workers salaries.
The appeal is contained in the government’s response to a statement from the national leadership of the NLC to the state government urging it to pay its striking workers.
Appreciating the NLC’s concern over the issue, the government, through its Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade commended the workers body for acknowledging the impact of the economic downturn in the country which has made it difficult for over 30 states in the country to pay workers salaries.
Stating government’s resolve to ensure quick resolution of the impasse occasioned by the non payment of salaries, government however appealed to Labour to “as a matter of priority, join the growing clamour for restructuring of the country based on the reality on ground” adding that the only way out of the present debacle is for everyone and stakeholders alike to ensure the restructuring of the country to suit the present realities.
“A situation where the Federal government which has no land and population is collecting 53 percent of the total revenue accruable to the country, is evil, unfair, unjust ,unacceptable and crime against humanity.
“The other federating units, 36 states and Abuja including the existing 774 local governments are left with just 45 percent of the revenue which shows no equity and fairness”
The government said NLC should acknowledge the precarious situation most states have found themselves in the last one year, adding that revenue allocation to Ondo state has reduced considerably so much that in the last 5 months, its gross allocation was between N1 and N2 billion, while often time than not, the net was less than a billion naira.
It mentioned that in May for instance, N1.3b was received and the net was a meagre N720m.
“To make the matter worse, we have a wage bill of N3.9b for the state workers and N 2.6b for local government and this did not include funds for the day to day running of Ministries and Parastatals and Capital projects” it also informed, thus urging the NLC to appreciate that government is not deliberately denying workers their dues.
Registering that the Governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko has ruled out workers retrenchment as an alternative to the challenge on hand as some have suggested, government said it would however want to put it on record that the wage bill of political office holders in the state is about N80m which has no impact on the inability to pay government workers as implied by the NLC, submitting that its work force of 76,601 is the 4th highest in the country.
Maintaining its caring heart status, government said its rich welfare profile is not in doubt adding, that aside from paying the highest minimum wage of N22,000 and the only state that pays leave bonus in the country,It further mentioned that it also pay ’13th month’ to workers across board at the end of every year, just as it mentioned that teachers are paid 27.5 percent relativity allowance as well as car loans to workers among other regular welfare packages.
Government said it appreciate the industry and support of workers in the state adding that it shares in their pains and promised that their welfare will continue to be paramount to government as always.
Published below is NLC’s letter to the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko
3rd June, 2016
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko
REQUEST FOR INTERVENTION
I wish to convey to you the compliments of the Nigeria Labour Congress and to request your urgent re-consideration and intervention in the matter of non-payment of salaries and pensions which has led to a strike action in the state.
Your Excellency, we are not unaware of the present socio-economic challenges in the country. However, in our estimation, this should not be an acceptable reason for not paying five months salaries and pensions at the level of the state, and four months salaries and pensions at the level of local government and teachers.
Sir, you do not need a lecture from anyone, to know that non-payment of salaries and pensions for months on end, constitutes a crime against the workers, pensioners and their families whose lives and obligation to Man and God and their sense of self-worth have been put in jeopardy. As one with activist background and one with whom we have had collaboration these issues are clear and self-evident, and therefore need no belabouring.
Your Excellency, in these difficult moments in our nation, we no doubt have limited choices, but choices, all the same. One of these choices is to take a critical look at government expenditure especially in the areas of political appointments, patronage and allied costs. We similarly call for the renewed drive in the internally-generated revenue. We have reason to believe that when these initiatives are complimented by the bail-out funds released by the Federal Government, the twin issues of salaries and pensions will not be such a burden.
As we noted in our letter to you on the 40th anniversary celebration of Ondo State, you have left a legacy. We urge you to do all that is necessary to sustain this legacy. Accordingly, we will not relent in urging you to put in motion the necessary logistics for the commencement of the payment of these salaries and pensions.
While we await your intervention, please, accept the assurances of our highest esteem.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni.