Paris Club Refund Crisis Stalls Payment Of Salaries, NNPC Blamed

Distressed states may not be able to pay their workers from the Paris Club refund before Christmas as originally planned as the refund had been stalled by a Consultant over unpaid fees.

The consultant has filed a suit against the states at Federal High Court Abuja for reneging in payment of the consultancy fee for services rendered in recovering Paris Club refund.

The 36 state governors were supposed to pay the consultant five per cent consultancy fee.

Further withdrawals from the Paris Club refund by the states government may have been stalled due to the court case.

A highly placed source at the Presidency, told NAN on Friday night that the consultant rendered services in relation to the sharing of the fund.

The source said before this new court case, efforts were in top gear to release the balance of the Paris Club refunds to states to pay workers’ salaries all over the country before Christmas.

“The payment of the Paris Club refunds is at the final stages. It will be paid to enable the workers enjoy the Christmas and New Year festive seasons,” the source said.

President Muhammadu Buhari last month directed all state governors to utilise the balance of 50 per cent Paris Club refund to settle unpaid salaries owed workers before Christmas.

To remove any hitches, he directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance, and the Budget Office of the Federation to work out how the outstanding fund would be paid before the end of 2017.

The payment began in December 2016 with the release of about N522.74 billion to all 36 states as first tranche of the Paris Club refund.
The federal government later in July 2017, released N243.8 billion as second tranche.

The funds were released following protests by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002.

Meanwhile, the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting scheduled for Friday was put off till Saturday because stakeholders had not received the component statement from NNPC.

One of the state Commissioners for Finance, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that for the second time, the NNPC is late in remitting funds into the Federation Account.

“NNPC is the major cause of all these things. It has not brought in money just like last month.
“Last month, the state governors insisted that the NNPC must bring in money before it later brought out N30 billion from Excess Crude Account (ECA) before the last FAAC could hold.

”Again this month, the CBN and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said they have not received component statement from NNPC.

”’This indicates that NNPC had not paid money into the Federation Account. Without that money we have to wait till tomorrow for FAAC meeting to hold.

“If the component statement is sent from NNPC, it will take about six hours before the stakeholders can go through it” the commissioner said.

NAN

#SWSalary Is TRENDING: Twitter Users Blames Mimiko For Massive Pillaging Of Ondo Resources

Users discussing the status of payment of salary in the South West have lambasted former governor of Ondo State, Chief Olusegun Mimiko, with some calling for his arrest over the reckless manner in which he allegedly managed the state resources.

Former Governor Mimiko of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had on Friday, 24th February handed over to the newly elected governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, owing at least, eight (8) months salaries.

Though, the newly sworn-in governor had on Friday March 10th, 2017 ordered the payment of one month salary arrears to the suffering workers who endured 8 months of hardship under the former governor.

OsunDefender learnt that a human rights advocacy group, Human and Environment Development Agenda, HEDA had yesterday through its weekly twitter chat which hold son Mondays with the hashtag #MondayTango, started conversations around the status of salary payments in the South West. The group in a special report published on it website, revealed how Ondo State under Olusegun Mimiko amongst other states, earned billions of naira from the federal government in monthly allocations and bailout funds, but refused to pay workers their salaries and allowances.

You can read the full report here.

As at 12noon today when OsunDefender found the #SWSalary trend, the hashtag was trending at number 7 across Nigeria.

See image below:

A twitter user, with the name Nike, argued that former governor Olusegun Mimiko be immediately picked up and tried for the civil servants who died under him for non-payment of 8 salaries.

See other tweets trending on the hashtag below:

 

Workers’ Salaries: Group Reveals How Ondo Under Mimiko Received Over N22bn From FG, But Refused To Pay Salaries In 2016

A Lagos based human rights and development advocacy group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, has revealed how the Ondo State Government under Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, received at least N22bn from the Federal Government in monthly allocations for 2016, but refused to pay 8 months salaries to its workers. Recall the newly elected governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu recently ordered the payment of one month salary to the workers.

This was revealed in the group’s report which it released on Monday in Lagos. In the report, the group stated that aside federal allocation, the state couldn’t account for the budget support funds it received from the federal ministry of finance and the Paris loan refund, neither are there massive infrastructural development across the state to explain the reason the state’s resources have been frittered away.

The report which focused on Status of Salary Payment in the South West, gave a pass mark to Lagos and Ogun for now owing any month arrears un till March 2017. The group further revealed that Oyo, Ekiti and Osun owed Five, Four and One month’s respectively.

In the case of Ekiti, the group stated that the government in the state has taken proactive steps to clear workers’ salaries. When the state budget support fund was seized by the coordinating ministry, “the governor stormed the finance house in a braggadocios manner, but all that has failed to get funds for him to pay his workers’ salaries.”

In Osun, the group revealed that through the help of a ‘revenue apportionment committee’, the state has been able to reduce its monthly wage bill from N3.6bn to N1.7bn thus helping the state to pay salaries according to agreement with the state labour unions till January, 2017.

The group further revealed in Oyo that, “the government of Oyo has spoken time and again of its readiness to clear all salary arrears when the revenue of the state improves, however, increment in revenue here means government earnings from the federal government must double.”

“Oyo State government with a monthly wage bill of N5.2bn as at February 2017 owes 6 months salaries and pensions. Before this current accumulation, the state had often asked workers to forfeit their salaries every other month, until it couldn’t pay again.” The group revealed in the report.

Read the full report here.

Bishop Commends Aregbesola Over Infrastructure Development

The Bishop, Diocese of Osogbo, Methodist Church Nigeria, Rt. Rev. Amos Ogunrinde, has commended Governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola over infrastructural and educational development in the state.

The Bishop made the comment during a press conference he addressed in Osogbo as one of the activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the diocese. The Bishop also appealed to the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, to pay 19 months in half salaries, which the government owes state workers.

According to Punch Newspaper, the cleric stated that the state government was paying workers on grade levels one to seven full salaries, while other categories of workers were receiving modulated salaries since July 2015 when economic crisis took its toll on the state.

He said, “May I also encourage Mr. Governor to make payment of workers’ salaries a priority in the state. Labourers deserve their wages. There are outstanding salaries of 19 months. We cannot say that some categories of workers, who have been collecting half salaries since July 2015, have been paid fully.

“We understand the economic problem which is affecting many states including Osun but we want the governor to make payment of salaries a priority. A hungry man is an angry man.”

The bishop however gave a strong commendation on Governor Aregbesola for infrastructural and educational development in the state.

Dickson Blames Predecessors For Non-Payment Of Pensioners

The Governor of Bayelsa state, Mr. Seriake Dickson, Tuesday, blamed the inability of his government to pay pensioners their monthly entitlements on his predecessors.

The governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, spoke in Yenagoa when he constituted the state and local government pension boards.

Pensioners are owed about nine months of unpaid arrears in the state.

Dickson said: “The government inherited a liability of about N6billion; we then worked out a mechanism where we set aside N500million for monthly payment until the last 8 months that the state allocation from the federation account started dropping.

“For about eight months the pensioners have not been paid and that is very touching because for four years, we did not fail to pay pensioners until the last eight months.

“Now for this old men and women are on account of the failure of the leadership of the past, we are now unable to meet our obligations to them.

“We want to use this opportunity to ask for understanding, for people who gave their all for years in the service of the state. We appreciate their service to the state and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they begin to get their pension every month.”

But Dickson charged the new boards to make concerted efforts at ensuring the physical verification of all pensioners.

He gave them an assurance that payment of those identified will commence with immediate effect and lamented the untold hardship of pensioners in the last eight months.

The state pensions’ board is to be headed by Mrs. Jane Alek, while Sir Frazer Okuoru, is to chair the LG pensions’ board.

While Owie Biate Igoni will serve as Secretary of the State Pensions Board; Nathan Ayibakeme, Mr. Leader Tamatimigha, Dr. Martha Akpana and HRH Darius Job are to serve as directors, with 1: ex-officio members.

The local LG pensions’ board has Mr. Mathias Otuogha as Secretary and six other members.

The governor said he was determined Dickson to completely eradicate payroll fraud in the state and charged both boards to swing into action immediately.

He advised members of the boards to collaborate with the various ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals to ensure that the names of dead pensioners and persons who above 70 years and above are detected and expunged from the payrolls of the government.

He said: “This board has a number of experienced people, who can give advice and guidance, and I call for collaboration among those on the board and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to identify all those who are dead and are still on the payroll of the government, and those over 70-80 years still collecting salaries.

“I charge you all to ensure that all those who are going to be paid are verified. You have to verify each and every one of them, interact with them, go to them if they are too weak to come, take their photographs, very their age and particulars.”

The Nation

Osun 2016 Budget Guarantees Payment Of Workers’ Salaries — Assembly

The Osun House of Assembly has assured civil servants in the state that the 2016 budget would ensure full payment of their salaries.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Najeem Salaam, gave the assurance in Osogbo during an interactive session on the appropriation bill.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that civil servants on Grade Level 8 and above had been receiving half of their salaries since last year.

Salaam, however, said the capturing of the full payment of workers’ salaries in the budget was an indication that the government was working hard to ensure that civil servants were adequately paid.

He urged civil servants to work hard and play their roles, especially in generating revenue with a view to making the budget achieve its goals.

“It is important for civil servants to work hard; let us all block leakages so that we can have enough fund to carry out our obligations, including payment of full salaries of workers,’’ he said.

Earlier, Mr Kamil Oyedele, the House Committee Chairman on Finance and Appropriation, had said the budget was moderate, simple and realistic.

Oyedele said the budget focused on initiatives that would boost the resources of the state.

NAN reports that Gov. Rauf Aregbesola had on Dec. 10, 2015, presented a budget proposal of N150 billion to the assembly.

But Aregbesola in a letter to the assembly and read at plenary on April 11 sought for the downward review of the budget to N137.9 billion due to the poor economic situation.

Bayelsa Salary Issue: Where Is Ben Murray-Bruce?

By Goke Butika

“If we are in poverty, we can lie our way through, but we should elect not to embark on hypocrisy and conspiracy because of the consequence of death,”—-Ifa panegyrics.
President Muhammadu Buhari while explaining the parlous state of economy in Nigeria pointed to the fact that 27 states of out 36 have difficulty in paying workers’ salaries, ascribing the challenge to the crash of crude oil price and zero productivity, and it was widely reported in all dailies and electronic media.
Last week, an interesting headline seized front pages, that workers in oil rich Bayelsa state with eight Local Government council Areas were resorting to begging for survival as a result of delay in salaries close to six months. Whereas, Oyo state, one of the biggest states in the country has entered into a deal of placing all his allocations from the federation account for salaries alone in order to halt an imminent strike.
In a related development, while the nation’s currency was taking plunge for US dollar, the President and his team became sleepless on the drama of death at the forex market, but Buhari appeared clever in this game of baiting as he extends the country’s net of international engagement to the East, particularly China, the second economic super power of the world as against the pressure from the West on him to reduce the value of naira.
However, what appears to be troubling “Ajebamidele” is different from his son. While Ajebamidele was thinking of making more money for the family, the son wanted more food. While the President was losing sleep to fix the country in response to the cry of the millions, the representatives of the same people at the National Assembly were busy padding national budget with secret projects that would get them more money to make statement of “new arrival” on the political permutation of their states; don’t ask me about the intention of top national assembly members who want to become governors in 2018/19 in their states.  At the same time, the Senate under the leadership of the embattled Senator Bukola Saraki was struggling to alter two bills: Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal (CCB/T) and Administration of Criminal Justice.
To the best of my knowledge, the first bill must be altered to help the Senate President who has run from frying pan to furnace with a view to evading  justice on his alleged criminal past at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, while the second bill must be quickly passed to return the snaily speed of justice which could make Saraki’s case last eternity. And I found my justification in the words of Ekiti Senator-Ekiti again! Biodun Olujinmi, the impeached deputy governor to Ayo Fayose-Fayose again! She said: “If you don’t help your neighbour when his house is burning, you will not get help when the fire reaches your house.” In one piece,  the Senate of the Federal Republic has become “stock exchange market for corruption.”
Yes, some critics have their misgivings about the China deal, but yours sincerely thumb up for it, because it makes sense to say that an import dependent nation like Nigeria must get its Maths right. We import over 80 percent of wares from China, but used US dollar to denominate the transactions, making the naira to be chasing the dollar that would later be changed to yuan, Chinese currency. In the exchange, naira gets weaker, dollar gets stronger. Now, with the new deal, Nigerian importer would exchange naira for Chinese yuan at rate of N30 for a yuan, the import would be done with ease; machinery for local industries would be procured at cheaper rate; while dollar would have rest from hot chase, and possibly relax and reflex on its hike, and the economy would be on its legs again. If I am wrong, let the economists fault my argument and come up with convincing one.
Let it be known that the narratives I have read about the other side of arguments against the China deal seem to be planted by the looters who had stocked looted dollars in their soak aways with a view to be selling it at higher rate for the benefit of their families alone. But the analyses above were not even the hit of this piece, the meat is to draw out the “common sense” Senator Ben Bruce who once mocked State of Osun on national media that he would be donating his wardrobe allowance to its workers in sympathy to their agitation on delayed salaries, that Bayelsa, his home state where he represents could not pay for ten months now at the Local Governments and six months at the state level, and common sense suggests that Bruce begins to release his jumbo salary to the workers there.
Today, Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun who was their boot of jokes some months back while he declared that the nation’s economic downturn has hit his state badly has found his template for fixing his remaining  projects, paying though not regularly, the reworked salaries known as “afusa” pejoratively means half salaries for some categories of workers, and enjoying his peace with work force in the state, while watching states with bigger allocations with “nosa” pejoratively means no salary with justifiable concern.
The long and short of my story is that Nigerians should know that we are in a dire strait, the country is in need of collective will and unalloyed support, and certainly the support for a better Nigeria would not come from the National Assembly, because the guys there want to be rich quick at the expense of the vulnerable citizens. So, it is high time we rose to support Nigeria project under President Buhari.
Butika is a journalist of intercontinental exposure

Kwara Begins Worker Verification

Kwara State Government has commenced physical verification of workers and pensioners in the state and those of the 16 local government areas.

The exercise which started in Ilorin West Local Government secretariat featured Biometric data capturing, verification of documents and data forms of the local government workers and local government pensioners.

The Physical verification exercise followed the completion of the first phase which involved the use of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) to verify workers and pensioners.

Speaking on the exercise, the Alternate Chairman, Kwara State Committee on Personnel Database Development, Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold said the exercise was to ascertain the authentic workers and pensioners in the 16 local government councils and at the state level.

He explained that the verification was to give the government an accurate data of the state and Local Government Councils’ payroll and ensure that only those properly employed receive salaries and pensions accordingly.

Alhaji Gold urged the affected workers and pensioners to comport themselves in an orderly manner with a view to ensuring smooth conduct of the exercise.

He assured the workers that the committee would address noticeable challenges in the exercise to make it hitch-free.

Speaking in the same vein, the State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Alhaji Haruna Muhammad said the exercise would assist the government to ascertain genuine workers in order to block revenue leakages.

He said about 17,000 workers and pensioners were expected to be verified at the local government.

Gov. Ahmed: BVN To End Salary Delay

Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has given an assurance that the verification of workers in the state through the presentation of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) will end delay in the payment of salaries in the State.
Governor. Ahmed gave this assurances at a meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders in Ilorin, the state capital,adding that through the presentation of the BVN,  salaries of local governments workers and State Universal Basic Education teachers, which had been a major problem would become a thing of the past.
According to the governor, the approval by the Debt Management Office of the N20 billion Bond to be secured by the State, the tempo of the development of infrastructure in the state would be faster.
Some of the projects tied to the bond, the governor said, include the expansion of some major roads in the State capital,  construction of two new campuses of Kwara State University in Ilesha-Baruba and Osi in Baruten and Ekiti  local government areas respectively.
“With increased internally generated revenue,  youth empowerment and employment programme of this administration would also improve tremendously”, he promised.
Governor  Ahmed called for greater unity among the people of the State, stressing that ” our strength is in our unity as it creates better understanding and development ; indications  that things will get better “.
On local government elections,  Dr Ahmed, charged APC local and ward chairmen and stakeholders in the state to be fully prepared in their respective
council areas through inclusive approach in the emergence of candidates for elections in all the 16  local government areas of the state.
He advised that the principle of zoning formula,loyalty,credibility must put into consideration before councillorship and  chairmanship candidates could emerge.

Workers’ Salaries: ‘Aregbesola Has Nothing To Hide’

Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been  transparent enough on issues bothering on payment of workers’ salaries in Osun State since the emergence of economic crunch.

Fielding questions from newsmen in Osogbo, the immediate past commissioner for information and strategy, Hon. Sunday Akere said the governor has since last year set up a labour-government joint committee to oversee the sharing of allocation accruing to the state and its internally generated revenue for the payment of salaries and pensions.

He disclosed that the committee, chaired by a veteran labour leader, had since last July taken charge of sharing allocation and had not at any point in time subjected to any pressure from the governor.

According to him, labour leaders and government representatives get all the figures from Abuja and the one from the IGR, which, he said was to a large extent responsible for the understanding the labour leaders showed the government because there is no secret in the whole process.

Akere berated the opposition for the rumour orchestrated that government would not meet its obligation to the workforce because of the N6m allocation accrued to it for the month of January.

He said that  when the state had a deficit of N24m in November last year it still met its obligation to the workforce.

The former commissioner disclosed that the state was ‘‘clean’’ with declaring it debt profile, which was the reason its commitment is being deducted from the source unlike other states that hide their debt profile and still cannot meet their obligations to their workers.

“Many of the state which receive huge sums of monies on papers still owed workers salary for six, seven, eight months because they have to pay their debt first after which they could not pay their workers.

Osun only owes its workforce three months salaries in line with its agreement with the labour union and payment for January is billed to commence this week, this is an attestation that the state government is seriously concerned with the situation”, he added.

He commended the state workforce for the understanding it showed the state government since the beginning of the economic meltdown, saying as soon as the financial situation in the country improves, the workers would also enjoy the due benefits.

He also called on the opposition parties in the state to jettisoned bitter politics and embark on constructive criticism in a bid to develop the state.

Leadership

27 States Have Difficulties Paying Salaries –Buhari

The grim economic situation in the country appears to be deepening by the day as 27 states in the country are finding it difficult to pay the salaries of their workers.

President Muhammadu Buhari said this in his remarks at the second National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja on Thursday.

Buhari said this in reference to the unfavourable economic situation in the country, which he said the administration was battling to stabilise.

Buhari added, “On the economy, the fall of oil prices after Nigeria has made itself a mono economy is a disaster. I wonder why people could not believe that in Nigeria, about 27 out of the 36 states, have difficulties in paying basic salaries of their workers.

“If from 1999 to at least 2003, oil was above $100 per barrel and an export of about two million barrels per day, how come Nigeria failed to make some arrangements to cushion the effect of a probably volatile oil market?”

To address this challenge, the President said his administration began the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, which had so far saved the nation over N3tn, an amount, he believed would have been frittered away by corrupt public officials.

He explained that he would want to be remembered for, among other things, his respect for the Nigerian voters, law enforcement agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The President expressed regret that he did not succeed in ensuring that this was enforced in the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states.

The President condemned the politically motivated killings in Rivers State, describing them as shameful.

Buhari added, “I think that more Nigerians are killed or killed themselves in Rivers than in any particular state. At this stage of our political development, to remain brutal is shameful and as a government, I promise we will do something by the next general elections.

“I appeal to the leadership of the military, security agents and INEC that what I want Nigerians to remember me for, even if I leave the Presidency tomorrow, is that I respect them.

“I want all Nigerians to believe and hold their PVCs as personal entitlement as Nigerians and use them the way they like, and vote for whoever they like at whichever election.

“If they voluntarily sell it, it is part of their right and so, let them sell it and remain at home and not participate in any election.’’

He said Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil revenues, mismanagement and the looting of the common patrimony were largely responsible for the state of the economy.

The President, who also doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, explained the reason behind the ongoing reforms in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

He said, “We have tried to make sure that NNPC is reorganised, so that we know how much of our crude is taken, how much it is sold and to which account the money is going.

“But I tell you that up to the time we came, if anybody told you that he knew how much of crude exchanged hands either on the high sea or reaching their destinations and the accounts the money was paid into, that person was not telling you the truth.

“We are getting the cooperation of countries that have received this crude.’’

On security, the President gave his administration a pass mark.

He noted that the party took a very courageous decision which the executive implemented by replacing the military hierarchy, acquiring  new hardware and software and raising the morale of the military personnel.

This, he said, assisted in no small measure, to bring the Boko Haram insurgency largely under control.

“I have said it often that as far as I know, and the service chiefs, who are on the ground, they (Boko Haram) are not holding any local government, but they still have some capabilities, especially on soft targets by using technology,” the President added.

On the issue of his foreign trips, Buhari said, “As for globe-trotting, sometimes, you need to present your case on a personal basis to your economic colleagues and neighbours.

“Nothing is better than personal touch and I believe that we are learning a lot and eventually, the nation will realise so.”

The President said when he was the Head of State, those perceived to be corrupt were arrested and detained then given the chance to prove their innocence.

He noted that the reverse was the case under a multi-party democracy.

Buhari added, “We have to get credible evidence to carry out successful prosecution and get judgment from the judiciary. But effort is being made to give a list of recovery in whatever currencies so far so that Nigerians will know that it is not all about long stories.”

Commenting on the reversal of his earlier directive dissolving the boards of federal agencies and parastatals, Buhari said, “We gave a blanket order, which we had to rescind when we said all boards are suspended or dissolved.

“We had to go back and lick our vomit in terms of university boards because we found out that according to their laws, they cannot choose vice-chancellors unless the boards seat and interview prospective candidates who want to be VCs.’’

He appealed to members of the party, especially the leadership, to bear with the administration and continue to make sacrifices for the growth and development of the nation.

Buhari explained that he was aware of the pressure on them, especially with the state of the economy, assuring them that everything was being done to improve on the economy and set the nation on the path of growth.

The President attributed the reported padding of the budget to the bureaucratic bottlenecks that characterised the reduction of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“When we came in after 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party’s rule, the government had 42 ministries. We reduced them to 24, removed 21 permanent secretaries. We were all in the process of taking over at a time of a national budget.

“So, imagine the volume of work and with what happened in the National Assembly, the padding, it would appear that below the permanent secretaries, there are still a lot of bureaucracies that are still with them,” Buhari said.

The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, appealed for unity among members of the party, which he said was necessary to enable the party to deliver on its promises to Nigerians.

According to him, most of the problems the APC administration is trying to solve are inherited.

Odigie-Oyegun added, “The problems we have are well-known, of course originating from two well-known factors: our squandered patrimony and of course, the unfortunate coincidence of the collapse of the price of crude.’’

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Odigie-Oyegun explained that it was agreed that congresses should be held to nominate replacement for party members, who, either through appointment or election, have moved on.

He said a committee had also been set up to review the party’s constitution to ratify the agreement to downsize the number of members of the BoT.

Punch