By Dipo Olowookere
The 36 State Governors of the federation have stated what would make them offset the backlog of salaries and pension arrears owed civil servants in the country.
According to the Governors, they will only clear the backlogs as soon as the next tranche of payment from the Paris-London Club loan refunds were made.
This decision was arrived at in Abuja at a meeting hosted on Thursday night by Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, who doubles as the Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar at his Maitama residence.
The Governors met in anticipation of the release of the other half of the Paris-London Club refund which has been gratuitously approved for payment by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo. The funds are expected to hit the states accounts within the month.
The Governors, who said they were not oblivious of the hue and cry over the non-payment of the backlog of salaries and pension arrears and the precarious predicament of the Nigerian worker, deliberated on the matter and concluded that in order to set the country on the path of growth, something immediate must be done to ameliorate workers plight by offsetting the backlog of their pay and emoluments.
They resolved, as a matter of urgency, to pay workers their due as soon as this half of the Paris Club refunds was made.
“We all agreed that a substantial amount from the next tranche of the Paris-London refunds be used in the settlement of workers salary and pension arrears,” the NGF Chairman, Mr Abubakar, disclosed.
Out of the N522.7 billion owed, N388.3 billion was paid to states last December.
Similarly, the Governors committed to the verification of the input of all the consultants who claim to having worked towards the harmonization of the refunds regarding what is due to which state, since 2005 when the demand for the refunds commenced.
At the moment, there are litigations from more than ten different consultants still agitating for settlement for their roles in the quest to have the refunds made to states.
In this regard, a committee was set up under the headship of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State with the Governors of Bauchi, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar; Sokoto, Mr Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Plateau, Simon Lalong; Bayelsa, Seriaki Dickson; Rivers, Nyesom Wike; and former Accountant General of the Federation and Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo as members.
This committee is expected to finally provide a solution to the demands by consultants on the Paris-London Club refunds to states.
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