The inability of the Benue State government to meet workers wage bill has been blamed on the shortfall in revenue accruing to the state from the federation account and the lack of will by the federal government to reimburse states that rehabilitated some federal roads.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Governor of the state, Engineer Benson Abounu, who also revealed that state governors had requested from the federal government a grace of eighteen months for them to begin to repay the loans granted to them by the federal government which was turned down in favour of only a grace period of the month of March.
“The state government is not insensitive to the plight and yearning of the workers but is working hard to improve on their welfare, but due to lack of funds, we are having these problems.”
Meanwhile, earlier in his speech, the State Labour Chairman, Comrade Godwin Anya, disclosed that workers in the state had not been paid for over four months even as the Independent, Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) recently indicted the state government of diverting the bailout fund meant for workers salaries.
He appealed that a full report of the Bailout Committee headed by the Deputy Governor, whose office was indicted of double payment of N37 million from the Bailout fund, be made public, adding that workers who are yet to be paid are paid without further delay.
Anya accused the government of reneging on an agreement with labour when it promised that it will use two federal allocations to pay one month salary.
“Unfortunately, this pledge has not been sustained by government as the gap of unpaid salary has continued to widen,” he decried.
The NLC chair therefore called on government to clear all salary arrears owed workers without further delay, maintaining that as representatives and opinion leaders, they have the capacity to swing the pendulum of the peoples’ thinking against them.
The occasion was low key as workers continued to lament over they hardship been encountered by their members.