Local Government (LG) workers under the auspices of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Kwara State have kicked against alleged appointment of consultants to prepare and pay their salaries.
NULGE secretary in the state, Mr Afolabi Abayomi, told reporters in Ilorin that each of the 16 local government councils had a treasurer in charge of its accounts department with full complement of accounting staff that had been preparing the salaries since the creation of the councils.
Mr Abayomi wondered why the state government would go ahead to engage consultants to pay salaries of the workers in the local governments, rendering LG workers employed for the purpose redundant.
A Way Of Siphoning Money
He lamented that these consultants would be drawing 30 per cent out of the already low and inadequate allocations to the local governments thereby worsening the hardships in the councils.
“Appointing consultants to prepare and pay local government workers is illegal and unconstitutional, local governments have enough staff to prepare their workers’ salaries.
“It is a way of siphoning money from the already dwindling local governments’ allocations.
“Imagining the consultants receiving 30 per cent from the council’s allocations,” Abayomi said.
The NULGE scribe further appealed to the state government to revert the appointment of consultants and let the workers in the accounts department continue to prepare salaries of LG staff.
Mr Abayomi said the one billion Naira that the state government gave LGs out of the five billion Naira it received from the Federal Government was not enough to pay the November salaries of workers in the local governments.
He pointed out that the money was to augment the November salaries with 600 million Naira, adding that the remaining 400 million Naira would be added to December salaries.
“Monthly wage bill in the local governments is 2.2 billion Naira which covers State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), local government staff, pensioners and Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) teachers’ salaries.
“To be given only one billion Naira to meet all these responsibilities with all the wide publicity given it was insincere,” he insisted.
He asked the state government to abide by the instruction of the Federal Government and the State House of Assembly to use the five billion Naira to offset backlog of salaries to workers.
He also advised the state government to grant autonomy to local governments to run their fiscal activities as they deemed fit.
According to him, the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC), should be scrapped to allow local government councils handle their finances as the third tier of government.
Reacting to the demand by the local council workers, Dr. Muideen Akorede, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Communications to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the government gave the 16 local governments one billion to pay November salaries.
Dr. Akorede said the government gave 800 million Naira to pay salaries of workers in the state-owned tertiary institutions.