Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, yesterday assured civil servants in the state that on no account would his administration retrench them.
He said he did not consider retrenchment an option despite the drastic drop in the allocation accruing to the state, stressing that downsizing was undemocratic and not a solution to economic problems.
Gov. Ahmed gave the assurance during an interactive session organised by the Joint Kwara Labour Congress for governorship candidates in the state.
The governor, who responded to several questions at the debate, lamented that the theft of crude oil has reduced allocation accruable to states and local governments.
He said retrenching workers on the grounds of revenue shortfall would amount to worsening the unemployment challenge and destroying the civil service in the process.
“We will not retrench workers. It is a style we inherited from the military. It is not a solution to economic problem. In the civil service, there is entry and exit method”, he said.
However, Ahmed said the current federal government structure is not supportive of states and local government, adding, “There is a huge problem with federation allocation”.
He said: “When I came in 2011, the monthly allocation to Kwara State was about N3.1 to N3.2 billion, by the end of 2012, it dropped to N2.9 billion. Don’t forget that our monthly commitment was increasing because we were trying to place everybody on the 18,000 minimum wage. We said, ‘okay, since we were collecting about N3.1 billion, we should be able to pay between N2.7 to N2.8 billion on monthly basis. Local governments were collecting about N2.8 billion every month and they too were able to meet up with their monthly commitment. But suddenly, the theft of crude oil increased and our allocation dropped from 3.1bn to 2.8bn, 2.6bn, N2.7 to N 2.1 billion and our monthly commitment is still at N2.7 to 2.8 billion. It is due to the wisdom that God has given us in our capacity to have proper funds management, that we have been able to pay salaries in Kwara State consistently up till today”.