Why I owe Osun workers 5 months salary – Aregbesola

Rauf-Aregbesola

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has not paid workers of his state for the past 3 – 5 months, but he has blamed it on President Goodluck Jonathan. According to him, “the economic strategy adopted by President Jonathan” has shrunk the monthly revenue of the state and had forced the state to take a loan of N12 billion from banks.

“The reason for indicting the President was that when I assumed office in 2010, I met a state with an income of N2.1 billion and with a wage bill of N1.1 billion,” Aregbesola said yesterday at the 7th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos, to mark the 63rd birthday of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Outside Lagos, Osun State is the next state with large number of civil servants under the state employ. By 2012 January, my wage bill jumped to N3.6 billion and at this time, the revenue of the state had increased to N4.6 billion.

“And do not forget that the state inherited 50 percent of the entire civil servants in the old Western states. But by July of 2013, the apex government announced an unusual decline in allocation to the state which was about 40 percent. So from N4.6 billion with which I could meet the wage need of the workers, the revenue of the state from the central government was reduced to N2.6 billion.

“Since then, the highest monthly allocation received by the government was in November 2013 and it was N3 billion. And since then, Osun State had to augment salaries. Sometimes, N600 million, N1 billion and N1.6 billion,” the governor said.

Aregbesola has been criticised for ‘whining’ about his inability to pay workers’ salaries with the blame he puts on the federal government regarded by his critics as flimsy, seeing that government revenues have fallen due to slump in global oil prices. He was also recently criticised by the Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, for allegedly budgeting N18.6 billion for the running of his office while workers in the state are yet to be paid salary since October 2014.

However, the governor insists that with the right economic strategy, Nigeria and indeed Osun State will not be in the cash-strapped position it has found itself. He said that his administration remained committed to workers welfare.

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