Government & Politics

Benue, Cross River Paying Salaries With Paris Refund


Benue and Cross River states are using a chunk of the Paris refund to pay the salaries and pensions of their workers as advised by the Federal Government.

Benue said it is devoting 90 per cent of the N6.4 billion received as its share of the second tranche of the Paris refund to pay arrears of salaries.

Mr Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to the Benue governor, who announced this in Makurdi, said that the measure was part of efforts to clear the backlog of salaries owed workers to boost their morale.

He, however, stated that what came to the state was “far below” what it was expecting.

“Actually, we expected N12 billion. But we shall try to use the N6.4 billion prudently,” he said.

Akase said that the inability to pay salaries promptly was not deliberate.

“We have not been able to pay salaries because of the paucity of funds.

“The federal allocation and the internally generated revenue, put together, cannot meet the monthly wage bill of N7.8 billion. It is indeed a bad situation, but we are trying to navigate it,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that state government workers in Benue are owed five months, while local government workers and teachers are owed nine months.

Pensioners are owed more than 12 months.

In Cross River, Governor Ben Ayade has ordered the payment of gratuities to retirees in the state civil service who retired from service in 2014 from the Paris Club Refund.

The 2013 retirees are currently being paid their gratuities and pension in the state.

Mr Ekpenyong Henshaw, the Head of Service of Cross River, briefing newsmen on Saturday in Calabar, disclosed that the governor had directed the Commissioner for Finance and the Accountant-General of the state to start processes of the payment.

According to Henshaw, the second tranche of N6 billion received by the state from the Paris Club Refund was basically for the payment of gratuities and salaries of public and civil servants in the state.

“Gov. Ayade is desirous of paying all outstanding arrears owed civil servants by the previous administration because he has their interest at heart.

“He is ready to do anything within his power to ensure that their salaries and other lawful entitlements are paid when due.

“He has directed the commissioner for finance and the accountant-general of the state to immediately commence processes for the payment of gratuities to 2014 retirees as we round up payment to 2013 retirees,’’ he said.

He assured local government staff who were yet to receive their entitlement to be patient, adding that everyone would be paid his or her entitlement in full.

He urged workers in the state not to relent in contributing their quota to the development of the state, adding that the present administration placed high premium on the welfare of workers.

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