By Laleye Dipo in Minna
At least 12 out of the 25 local governments in Niger state cannot pay their staff salaries even with the the direct allocation policy by the federal government.
This is also as the Niger state government has been accused of not remitting 10 percent of its Internally Generated Revenue IGR to the state joint local government accounts for upwards of ten years as provided for by law.
Some of the local governments that cannot pay workers’ salaries include Chanchaga, Bida, Suleja Kontagora, Mokwa, Paikoro, Shiroro Lavun Lapai Agaie among others.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees NULGE, Alhaji Abdulkareem Lafene, who disclosed this in Minna on Thursday said in June this year all the buoyant local governments had to “contribute” to bail out the financially deficient local governments to enable them settle all their financial obligations.
Some of the local governments Lafene added also resorted to obtaining bank facilities to enable them remain afloat.
Lafene blamed the inability of the LGs to meet their financial obligations on the series of deductions from the allocations of the local governments which had gone a long way to deplete their income saying some of the deductions from the allocation to the local governments did not have direct bearing on the councils ” yet they are being made to make these compulsory contributions”.
The NULGE boss asked why the local governments should still be contributing to the running of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida university Lapai when the state is the owner of the institution and why local governments should still pay salaries of traditional rulers and their staff after 5% had been deducted for the institutions from each local governments fund.
He also queried why teachers salaries should be the responsibility of local governments after the mandatory deductions made to the state Universal Basic Education Board.
“There are other deductions that don’t have direct bearing on the local governments if all these deductions are removed local governments will function effectively”.
He said despite the fact that the state government had been presiding over the sharing of monies in the state local government accounts monthly it has not been bringing its 10 percent to the pool for sharing “without anyone giving any reason”.
Lafene though said the direct allocation policy was already being implemented and had achieved close to 90 percent success in the state, “we still have some lacuna in the guidelines that the NFIU should address”.
The NULGE boss suggested that the NFIU should set up a monitoring committee that “will go round the country to ensure strict compliance with the set guidelines” adding that ” punishments should be put in place for those not implementing the NFIU guidelines to the letter.
He announced that stakeholders in the local government business are to meet in Keffi Nadarawa state on the 4th of next month and in Abuja on the 26th of the same month to dialogue on the implementation of the NFIU guidelines.
The meetings would be a follow up to that held in Lagos late last month.