Chris Steven, Abuja
The 36 state governors of the federation have said they would clear all backlog of salaries and pensions owed their workers once the next tranche of payment from the Paris-London Club loan refunds are released to them by the Federal government.
The governors arrived at this decision at the end of the meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum Thursday night in Abuja presided over by their Chairman and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.
The governors met in anticipation of the release of the other half of the Paris-London Club refund which has been approved for payment by the Acting President Professor Yemi Osibanjo and the funds are expected to be paid to the states accounts within the month.
“We all agreed that a substantial amount from the next tranche of the Paris-London refunds be used in the settlement of workers salary and pension arrears,” Yari said.
As at last December last year, out of the N522.74bn owed N388.304 was paid to states and while some states utilised the fund to settle outstanding salaries, others diverted the fund to other uses.
The governors at the end of their meeting also agreed to the verification of the input of all the consultants who claimed to have worked towards the harmonization of the refunds regarding what was due to which state, since 2005 when the demand for the refunds commenced.
Following cases of litigations from more than ten different consultants still agitating for settlement for their roles in the quest to have the refunds made to states, the Forum decided to set up a committee headed by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state to look into the case.
Other members are governors of Bauchi, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, Sokoto’s Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Plateau’s Simon Lalong, Bayelsa’s Seriaki Dickson, Rivers’ Nyesom Wike and former Accountant General of the Federation and Gombe state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo as members.
This committee is expected to finally provide a solution to the demands by consultants on the Paris-London Club refunds to states.
The forum, in its resolve to speak with one voice agreed to raise a committee made up of the Governors of Imo, Bayelsa, Abia, Ekiti, Kano, Nasarawa and Bauchi to work for the “reconciliation of the forum and the betterment of the country.”