News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Ajimobi breaches Paris refund terms, to spend 60% on salaries

Oyo Governor Abiola Ajimobi: government to spend 60% of Paris refund on salaries

By Suleiman Shehu/Ibadan

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State may have run foul of the conditionality attached to the release by the Federal Government of the second tranche of N7.9billion Paris Club refund.

The state said it will spend 60 per cent of the money on salaries, contrary to the advice by the Federal Government that a minimum of 75 per cent should be spent.

In releasing the N243.8b to states on 18 July, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said the money was released on specific terms.

She said: “The funds were released to state governments as part of the wider efforts to stimulate the economy and were specifically designed to support states in meeting salaries and other obligations, thereby alleviating the challenges faced by workers.

“The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 75 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions for states that owe salaries and pension.

But today, Mr Toye Arulogun, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism of Oyo state, said only 60 per cent will be devoted to salaries, quoting instead an earlier advice by President Muhammadu Buhari that 50 per cent should be spent on salaries.

Arulogun quoted Mr Abimbola Adekanmbi, the State Commissioner for Finance and Budget, as saying this while featuring on a live programme in a private radio station in Ibadan on Saturday.

Adekanmbi said that Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State led- administration was very committed to the welfare of the entire people of the state.

He said that the earlier decision of the government to use 100 per cent of its federal allocations for workers’ welfare still stood.

“We all recall that President Muhammadu Buhari has told state governments to use at least 50 per cent of the refund for workers’ wages, salaries and allowances.

`We are doing more than the 50 per cent in Oyo State. When we collected the first tranche of N7.2 billion, we used 60 per cent for workers’ salaries and wages.

“We also collected part two of the inflow of the sum of N5.003 billion and committed 100 per cent to salaries and salary related payments of workers in the state.

“We have paid two months salaries three times consecutively and the governor has not relented in his efforts to clear all the outstanding wages.

“`We will all remember that Oyo State was initially excluded from the refund, but the governor’s tenacity and strong will ensured that we also got our share.

“It amazes me when people throw figures in the air without proper explanation or understanding.

“It is very disappointing when people who claim to be knowledgeable brandish figures for mischief with malicious intent for cheap political gain.

“Our books are available for all to see and the leadership of the workers’ unions meet with us regularly,’’ he said.