Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
Worried by dwindling revenues accruing to Nasarawa State in recent times, the state accountant general, Yakubu Zakka, has approached the state’s House of Assembly to cut down the cost of governance.
The accountant general disclosed this to THISDAY yesterday in Lafia, the state capital while narrating the outcome of his recent meeting with members of the revenue and public accounts committee of the state assembly.
He maintained that his call for cuts in the cost of governance in the state was imperative because revenues accruing to the state from the federation account dropped by N680 million in the month of August, and by N300 million in September.
He said: “Within two months, we lost almost N1 billion from federal allocation. The Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) also dropped because the economic system has changed. Our IGR at a point went up to N400 million per month, but it has dropped to N300 million and it affected the cost of governance.
“We discovered that what we got from the federation account in 2018 was N55.5 billion, but the salaries and overhead cost at that period amounted to N55.6 billion, which means we were spending a lot and there was need for us to cut the cost of governance.
“in Local Governments, we started percentage payment because our allocation dropped from N2.2 billion to N700 million during recession, and the entire salaries and other deductions amounted to over N2.4 billion.
“When we started the percentage payment, we took an overdraft of N200 million in the first instance. The following month, it went up to N400 million, and the next was N500 million. Then, no bank agreed to give us overdraft of that magnitude again.”
He cited the health sector as where some staff who did not possess the requisite qualification were enjoying the health sector salary scale.
“For instance, a security guard in the health sector collects salary more than a fresh graduate in the main public sector. We also discovered that most of the people staying in Karu Local Government Area of the state work in Abuja and their PAYEs that supposed to come to Nasarawa State is going to Abuja.
“We are taking stock of all the people living in Karu axis and working while the federal government is claiming their PAYEs. We are going into TSA where every fund will be channelled into one source so that we will be able to establish whether there are leakages somewhere in order to block them.”