Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday described as very painful the inability of some states to pay workers’ salaries.
Aregbesola disclosed this in Osogbo when a non-governmental organisation, Osun Action Strategy Development Group, paid him a courtesy visit.
He stated that it was disheartening for people to work and such work fails to translate into wages, saying it was a harrowing experience for both workers and government.
The governor however said the challenge of unpaid salaries should not be seen as opportunities by some to pillory either his government or any other facing the same challenges.
According to him, though the regime of unpaid salary was tragic and painful, all stakeholders must gloss over the challenges it created so as to find a lasting solution to it.
Describing the situation as an economic strategy, he attributed the current misfortune to gross mishandling of the nation’s economy by the last regime of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He stated that the unchecked oil theft under the PDP in which the nation was losing 400,000 barrels per day, culminated in drastic reduction of oil price in the international market.
This price fall he said, had created for the country a tragedy of huge proportion that translated to economic disaster, pains and agony for the workers across the country.
He said: “No leader is happy to see what is happening. It is a harrowing experience to see workers work and at the end of the month, their work fails to translate to wages.
“The delay in salary pains me a lot and when I reflect on the travails of the people I feel sad about it.
“There are natural disasters caused by force majeur. There are economic disasters caused by factors above human powers.
“In our circumstance, what is available to us as allocation is less than what is needed to meet our statutory obligation however prudent we have been.
“For four years, the gross total income accrued to our state is, N204billion and this can be contrasted to N206billion, which is the total statutory obligation of the state for four years.
“What this means is that even without money for capital projects and overhead cost this amount collected could not sustain the states statutory obligations.
“And we did not just wake up to find ourselves in this problem. It was occasioned by the mismanagement of the nation’s economy for six years by the past administration.”
Aregbesola observed that despite the financial shortage even the most virulent critics of his government cannot deny that his administration had performed creditably well.
He averred that his government build roads, schools, supplied students with Opon Imo (tablets of knowledge) distributed uniforms to all public students in the state, created welfare programmes for the old and vulnerable people as well as support farmers.
He stated that no state had done what Osun did in the area of security, which today has totally checked crimes and other anti-social activities in the state.
According to him, huge amount of money was committed to purchasing armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and ambulances, which are strategically located in the state and responding to distress calls round the clock.
He stressed that if all the programmes with the huge cost involved are factored into the accruable revenue to the state, it would be crystal clear why the state is where it is today.
He revealed that in February 2013 when the state collected N5billion as monthly allocation and April this year when it collected N540million, allocation had fallen drastically to less than 10 per cent, saying this was the dilemma of the state.
The governor said he however shares in the pains of the affected workers, promising that he was striving to end the situation.
“As we are trying to find solution to this challenges, we must not also run away from what brought us to this situation.
“For those who think this is an opportunity to pillory us in this economic condition, I pity them. Only God does not fail.”
We shall overcome; we shall recover from this challenge. I sympathise and feel for the workers. I appeal to them to bear with us as we work assiduously to end this problem. I assure them that the period of agony will soon be over,” Aregbesola said.
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