Despite dwindling resources from the federation accounts, Kwara State has been confirmed as one of the few states in the country that are up to date in the payment of their workers’ salaries.
A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) confirmed that after the release of the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds to the 36 states in the country, only Kwara State, and a few others have cleared the salary arrears of their workers, while Borno, Cross River, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Gombe and Bauchi are yet to do so.
The survey showed that many state governments across the federation had utilised the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds they received to clear the arrears of their serving and retired workers’ entitlements.
However, in most states where the arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities have been paid, some civil servants and retirees, especially those in the council areas, are still being owed.
The survey indicated that some of the workers and pensioners were owed salaries and pensions for periods ranging between two and 11 months.
The federal government in July released N243.79 billion to the states as the second tranche of the refund, having earlier released N388.30 billion to them in December 2016.
The refunds were released following protests by the states against the over-deductions from their Federation Account allocations for external debt services between 1995 and 2002.
The federal government had advised the state governments to use between 50 and 75 per cent of their share of the refund to clear the arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities they owed.
The survey showed that 15 of the 22 (68.1 per cent) states surveyed so far had utilised the money in settling the arrears of entitlements while seven had not.
Those that had paid are Kwara in the North-Central zone, Jigawa, Yobe and Adamawa in the North-East; all the states in the South-South except Cross River, and all the states in the South-West.
Bauchi, Gombe and Borno in the North-East, as well as Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi in the South-East, were yet to offset the arrears.
In Jigawa, for instance, Suleiman Kiyawa, Executive Secretary, Jigawa State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme, said the state government had cleared the arrears.
Kiyawa said the state government paid about N461.4 million as terminal benefits to 339 retirees in the state.
Muhammad Ali, a member of staff of the state Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, said no retired or serving worker in the state was being owed any entitlement.
Abubakar Musa, a retired civil servant in the state, said each time a civil servant retired, he/she collected the entitlements without delay.
In Yobe, Baba Malam-Wali, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), said the state had been paying salaries of its workers as and when due and would continue to do so.