Bauchi State governor, Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar has assured civil servants that payment of their salaries was among his top priority despite poor financial base of the state.
The governor made the remark at the weekend when he hosted officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, to a dinner at the Government House, Bauchi, where he alleged that the immediate past Isa Yuguda administration squandered about five billion naira without showing any impact on the society.
He said the last administration collected N2.5billion twice but decided to pay their associates unnecessary allowances and contractors without showing concern to the payment of workers’ salaries, saying that his greatest priority now was to settle the arrears of salaries and gratuities to cushion the hardship of the people.
“What we use to get from Abuja could not pay our salaries talk less of allowing us to do some other projects in the state, people easily forgot that the Isa Yuguda led administration collected N2.5b for two months and yet refused to pay workers salary instead squandered it among his associates and nobody raise accusing fingers at them. My greatest priority is to pay salary, pension and gratuities but nobody want to give me a chance despite I’m just one month old,” he said
Governor Abdullahi while commenting on the government’s decision to make some deductions from workers salary before being able to pay June salary, especially among the local government workers, stated that it was in good intention as the total amount could not carter for all allowances, hence the decision to make such payment to reduce hardship among the workers.
“When we considered that the amount could not pay all the LG salaries as we need to borrow about N604million monthly, I then assigned the Accountant General and the Permanent Secretary Ministry for Local Government Affairs to come out with three scenarios to enable us proffer solution, and I picked one option among the three that brought about the deductions, but I assure you it’s a temporary thing,” he said
He called on officials of the NLC and TUC to always enlighten their members on the difficulties and the effort the present administration was putting towards the welfare of their members.
He thanked the two unions for supporting him during the election in the state that brought him as the governor of the state, declaring that he was partner in progress that intends to develop a fantastic relationship with the labour in the state.