Ademola Nurudeen Banu, the ex-finance commissioner in Kwara state has said that then past administration under his boss, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, prioritised prompt payment of workers salaries, noting that there was no worker under the administration who earned below the N18,000 minimum wage in the state unlike the current administration with dubious consequential adjustment taking Kwarans for fools by propagating it as N30,000 minimum wage.
Dismissing the allegation of amputated salary from the incumbent government, Banu said there was no time Maigida led state Government paid amputated salary to state workers, insisting that the APC led government under Mallam Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq is lying to citizens about achievement of past administration in term of workers welfare.
The brilliant ex-commissioner, during his recent interviews with Newtelegraphs and THISDAY newspapers, which was closely monitored by this medium, accused Abdulrazaq government of paying amputated (GeriGedi) salaries for workers at colleges of education and some state MDAs during his first three and half years in office, despite the huge federal allocations, IGR and loans available for him.
He said during the financial crisis witnessed by the nation from 2015 through 2019, only Kwara and other three states were able to pay her workers salaries as at when due when states like Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Kogi and other were owing their workers and that the financial crisis affected only the local government workers and the basic education teachers understand the local government areas because of their lower allocation.
“The administration of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed prioritised the payment of salaries to civil servants and pensioners in the state”
“We never paid amputated or ‘gerigedi’ as alleged. We paid a minimum wage of N18,000 in line with the law then. The minimum wage was increased to N30,000 by the time we were leaving office.”
“It may interest you to know that the so-called ‘amputated salary’ was what this government paid for three and half years in the state. Meanwhile, when the allocation to the state and local governments dropped in 2015, it affected many states including Kwara. Kwara was one of the four states that were paying as and when due when other states were owning salaries for many months.”
He also gave further explanations on the challenges with local government administrations and few parastatals which he claimed arose from their inability to generate enough revenue to complement the subvention given by the state government.
The problem with the parastatals was because of their inability to generate enough revenue to complement the subvention given by the state government.
However, the net allocation coming to local government was less than the amount to pay salary and monthly commitments within the period under review. It would be recalled that the average net allocation to the local governments then was N1.7 billion compared to a monthly salary of about 2.1 billion. Presently, the allocation to the local governments has increased drastically to an average of N4 billion, while the monthly salary is an average of N2.5 billion, leaving an excess of N1.5 billion monthly.
“It was about the time this government assumed office that the Value-Added Tax (VAT) was increased from five per cent to 7.5per cent which translates to an average revenue of an additional N1 billion and N600 million to the state and local governments, respectively. Meanwhile, the economy had stabilized by the time we were leaving office in 2019 and the local governments were able to pay their salaries as and when due and offset the over N10 billion loan obtained from banks to pay salaries when the allocation was low. This can be confirmed from the Ministry of Finance. As chairman of the Joint Accounts and Allocation Committee (JAAC), I invited labour union leaders, prominent opposition members and stakeholders to participate in the JAAC meetings to ensure transparency and accountability in the financial affairs of the local governments.”