George Okoh in Makurdi
Following the inability of the Benue State Government to meet its financial obligations to workers in the state, it has announced its intention to obtain loans from an undisclosed financial institution to pay salaries of workers.
The Acting Governor, Mr. Benson Abounu, who made this disclosure yesterday while addressing journalists after meeting with labour leaders at the Government House, Makurdi, said already government was talking with some financial institutions but said it was an uphill task for the state.
He explained that to secure such loan, the state must get clearance from the Ministry of Finance as well as Debt Management Office (DMO).
â€œGovernment will do everything possible to clear all salaries of workers. That is why we want to secure a loan from a financial institution. We do not want to embark on half solution but full one. The internally generated revenue (IGR) which range between N250 million to N300 million is inadequate to augment with federation allocation to pay salaries,â€ he complained.
Also, speaking the state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Godwin Anya, expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the meeting, adding that the Paris Club refund of N6.5 million that was given to the state is insufficient to pay substantial months to workers.
Anya however blamed the state government for being complacent and nonchalant about workersâ€™ salary, arguing that with the declaration of emergency on salaries by Governor Samuel Ortom, it was expected that government would have sourced for funds elsewhere and augment with the Paris Club to clear many months salary.
The state government is owing over six months salaries to the state civil servants while local government staff and teachers are owed over nine months.