President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern on the growing complaints and agitations by workers in states over unpaid salaries and allowances.
The President was also worried about the welfare of the workers who he said have not been paid for months, despite interventions by the Federal Government.
Receiving a group of governors led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdul’Aziz Yari (Zamfara State), he said the plight of workers in the states need urgent attention as many could barely survive.
“How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months?” he questioned during the meeting on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja.
“I actually wonder how the workers feed their families, pay their rents and even pay school fees for their children.”
President Buhari told the governors that two out of the three-pronged focus of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to secure the country and fight corruption had received some commendable reviews by the people.
He, however, noted that the challenge in payment of civil servants’ salaries in states had taken a toll on the people.
He said, “God has been merciful in hearing the prayers of his servants so the rainy season has been good, you can ask the Kebbi State governor on this, and our enormous food importation bill has gone down.”
The President said the Federal Government and state executives would need to work closely together to ameliorate the situation of workers across the country.
He informed the governors that he had instructed all government agencies to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA). in order to ensure more transparency and prudence in accounting for the revenues of the government and the sharing of entitlements with states.
According to him, the TSA would ensure more transparency and prudence in accounting for the revenues of the government and the sharing of entitlements with states.
In his response, Governor Yari said the various interventions by the Federal Government, which include the bailouts, were judiciously utilised by the states.
He, however, attributed the inability to pay workers to the backlog of unpaid salaries and huge debts portfolios inherited by governors on assumption of office.
“We are concerned with the situation in our states, and we are trying our best to manage the resources,” Yari told President Buhari.
He added that the bailout funds and part of the fallout from the London-Paris Club that had been received by the states were properly expended to alleviate the plight of workers, but more had to be done.
The NGF chairman commended the efforts of the President in improving the economy and assured him that the states would continue to work with the Federal Government to improve the livelihood of workers and all Nigerians.
According to the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, governors of Ondo, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kwara, Akwa Ibom and the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State were part of the visit.