By Isaac Ukpoju/Lafia
Nasarawa State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,
Alhaji Aliyu Tijjani,said on Thursday that local government workers in the state got full salaries in December 2016, against the percentage payment since October 2015.
Aliyu told newsmen in Lafia that the percentage payment since October 2015 was due to shortfall in allocation from the Federation Account.
He, however, said that the payment of the full salary in December was possible through the Paris Club loan refund, used to augment the statutory allocation.
Tijjani explained that the local government areas got N3 billion from the Federation Account as Paris Club loan refund with the directive that 50 per cent be used to pay salaries and 50 per cent for projects.
According to him, out of the N1.5 billion meant for salary payment from the refund, N900 million was used to raise December salary to 100 per cent.
He said the balance would be used to augment subsequent salaries depending on the level of the statutory allocation for each month from the federation account.
The commissioner said over N9 billion would be required to settle the arrears of salary percentage for the 13 months.
He appealed to workers at the local governments to be patient, assuring that the salary issue would be tackled as the economy improves.
On the recent court judgement nullifying the appointment of Interim Management Committees for the local government areas, Tijjani said the state government was studying it, to take appropriate action.
He, however, said the Nigerian constitution provided for the state assembly to make laws for the smooth running of the local government system.
Tijjani explained that the state government was not opposed to the conduct of local government elections but for the paucity of funds occasioned by the economic downturn.
“The state government requires about N2 billion to conduct local government elections now and given the many financial challenges, it would be difficult for now.” (