From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
In an effort to ensure that the backlog of salaries owed workers in the state are cleared, the Benue State Government will exceed the tranche given to it by the Federal Government from the Paris club refunds released last week to pay its workers.
Acting Governor of the state, Engr. Benson Abounu, disclosed this, on Monday evening, after a closed -oor meeting with labour leaders in the state, held at the Benue Government House, in Makurdi.
He said whereas the Federal Government directed states in the country to use at least 50 per cent of the money to off-set workers salaries and pensions, the Benue State Government would be committing 80 per cent of the total money for the same purpose.
Abounu maintained that government would do all within its powers to clear the backlog of salaries stressing that the government was already considering various options and is presently discussing with some financial institutions and seeking the approval of the federal ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO).
The acting governor assured workers that as soon as modalities for the payment are worked out, workers in the state would start receiving their money.
On his part, Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Comrade Godwin Anya, who expressed disappointment with the paltry amount from the Paris Club refund, restated labour’s demand on the state government to source for money elsewhere to add to the statutory allocation so as to offset the huge arrears of salaries owed workers.
The meeting which was attended by labour leaders and delegates of the various labour unions in the state looked at the money that came to the state from the Paris Club refunds and how to apply it in line with the directives of the federal government.
Recall that just last week, the federal government released the sum of N6.8 billion to Benue in the second tranche of the Paris club refunds which is only 12.5 percent of the money instead of the expected 25% or N 13.7 billion.