By Solomon Elusoji
Osun State government has said it adopted aÂ modulated salary structure to systematically clear the backlog of unpaid salaries and ensured that the government continues to pay salaries as and when due.
Commissioner for Finance, Osun State, Bola Oyebamiji, who disclosed this Â explained that with the modulated salary, workers on levels one to seven, who constitute 67 per cent of workforce, were paid full salaries, while those on grade levels eight to 12, 25 per cent of workforce, receive 75 per cent of their salaries. Oyebamiji added that workers on grade levels 13 to 17, a mere 8 per cent of workforce, as well as all political appointees, received 50 per cent of their salaries.
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, though unhappy to pay the modulated salary to the workers, said the state was compelled by its financial reality to adopt it to tackle the menace of irregular payment of salaries. He said the modulated salary was also necessitated by the desire of his administration to provide massive infrastructure, develop the state economically and transform Osogbo into a modern state capital.
Like many other states in the country, the wage bill of the Osun State rose from N1.1 billion in 2010 to N2.2 billion in 2012 when the Federal Government negotiated a unilateral and blanket minimum wage on behalf of all states.
According to Oyebamiji,Â by October 2014 when the price of crude oil crashed, Osun State, like many others, started having a backlog of unpaid salaries. He said many states became fiscally unstable due to shortfall in federally collected revenues, hence the Osun Stateâ€™s revenue projections suffered a setback, affecting its capacity to repay its debts.
The government was confronted with two options â€“ to continue to pay salaries of civil-servants using over 70 per cent of the stateâ€™s revenue (civil-servants represent less than 1 per cent of the 4.2 million population of the state) or provide the platform for massive investments and position the state on a path of sustainable economic development.