President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed disappointment over the growing complaints and agitations by workers in states across the federation over unpaid salaries and allowances.
Buhari who spoke at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday while receiving a representation of governors led by the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdul’Aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State lamented the nonpayment of salaries in some states despite the various interventions by his administration.
The president, according to a statement by his spokesman Mr. Femi Adesina, said the plight of workers in the states needed urgent attention as many could barely survive.
The delegation which included the governors of Ondo, Kebbi Bauchi, Jigawa, Kwara and Akwa Ibom as well as the deputy governor of Ebonyi State.
President Buhari said the Federal Government and state executives would need to synergize so as to cushion the effect of the biting economy on workers across the country.
He 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.
President Buhari noted that the challenge in payment of salaries in states had taken a toll on the people therefore instructing all government agencies to comply with the Treasury Single Account in order to ensure more transparency and prudence in accounting for the revenues of the government and the sharing of entitlements with states.
The president said: “How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months.
“I actually wonder how the workers feed their families, pay their rents and even pay school fees for their children.”
“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,’’ Buhari stated.
Yari was quoted as saying that the various interventions by the Federal Government, include the bailouts, were judiciously utilized by the states.
He told Buhari that the governors inherited backlog of unpaid salaries and huge debts portfolios on assumption of office.
“We are concerned with the situation in our states, and we are trying our best to manage the resources,’’ the governor said.
He said 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 Buhari’s efforts in improving the economy, assuring that the states would continue working with the Federal Government to improve the livelihood of workers and all Nigerians.