Osun govt releases N19.8bn to pay salary, pension arrears

The Osun State government has disbursed N19.8 billion for payment of salaries and pensions to its workers.

The Commissioner for Finance Mr Bola Oyebamiji said the money covers August full salary, backlog of the salaries and the pensions for September to December 2015 as well as leave bonuses.

Oyebamiji said Governor Rauf Aregbesola gave the payment directive after consultation with Labour unions and other stakeholders.

The commissioner broke the news yesterday while addressing reporters at the Ministry of Finance in Osogbo, the state capital.

He said the payment would be from the N16.6 billion latest Paris Club refunds from the Federal Government.

Oyebamiji said the state added additional N3 billion from other sources to the Paris Club refunds to ensure the payment.

According to him, this is not the first time the Aregbesola administration was committing lump sums from the Federal Government to pay salaries and pensions.

The commissioner recalled that in November 2016, the government received N11.4 billion Paris Club refunds and disbursed N13.6 billion the following month ?to pay active and passive workers’ salaries, pensions, leave bonuses and other emoluments, with N8.5 billion covering September to December 2016 salaries.

He also said N924 million was paid in 2016 as leave bonus for September to December, adding that from the same Paris Club refund, N2.5 billion was paid to cover pensions for September to December of the same year.

Oyebamiji added: “?Again, in July 2017, the government received N6.3 billion as the second tranche of Paris Club refund and paid N6 billion as salaries, pensions and leave bonuses. The breakdown is as follows: N3.76 billion as workers’ salaries, N504 million as leave bonuses, N791 million as pension and N935 million as salaries in the local governments.

“Since the commencement of the Aregbesola administration in November 2010, salaries, pensions and workers emoluments had taken not less than 80 per cent of the total revenue of the state. Indeed, a sizeable portion of the state’s debt was incurred on salaries.

“When the administration came, monthly workers’ salary was N1.4 billion while pension was N200 million. However, with the increase of minimum wage from N9,000 to N19,000 and hiking of monthly pensions to N500 million, monthly salaries and pensions rose to N3.6 billion.

“Though there was a steady increase in revenue till the late 2013, however, by 2014, oil price commenced a steady decline, dropping to as low as $22 in 2015 from the height of more than $100 in 2013.”

The government’s action is on the heels of the September 22 governorship election in the state.

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