• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ekiti proposes austerity measures as wage bill overshoots by N600m

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Indications emerged on Monday that Ekiti State may embark on austerity measure approach to run governance as the state was recently hit by fever of dwindling federal allocation, leaving the state to shop for about N600 million to augment workers’ salaries for the month of April.

The federal allocation-structured Ekiti economy would have to source for fund somewhere else in the country to finance statutory financial operation, which includes workers’ salaries, running grants, subventions and other recurrent expenditures since the Federal Government released N2 billion for the state economy that needs N2.6 billion to settle the wage bill of workers’ salaries only.

Consequently, the state government has started discussions with the organised labour in the state on how to resolve the issue of workers’ salaries in the face of the dwindling resources to Ekiti State from the federation accounts with a strong option of austerity measures which may indicate reduction in government spending and expenditure, including workers’ salaries and subventions to state-owned institutions.

Although, Governor Ayo Fayose hinted that a sum of N2 billion was received for April from federation accounts to settle N2.6 billion workers’ salaries, among other government expenses, he, however, promised the workers in the state that payment of their salaries and entitlements would be paid promptly.

He added that the stakeholders’ meeting between government and organised labour in the state would consider ways of settling the issue even with low income from the internally generated revenue and dwindling resources from federation accounts, saying the meeting would address issues attached to government spending.

Also, Toyin Ojo, commissioner for finance, revealed yesterday that the governor had started liaising with labour leaders, who are critical stakeholders on issue bordering on wages, confirming that the state would rely and apply suggestions of the labour leaders on the issue since their suggestions and advice would be of tremendous help to the government.“What are we going to do when allocation from the federation accounts has dropped? We want all of us to sit down and discuss it. We are laying our cards on the table. We want our stakeholders to give us suggestions. It is after we have agreed on modalities that we will start paying.

“We are discussing with the labour leaders on this issue because it is a matter of greatest concern to Governor Fayose, who had vowed not to owe these workers. It is our wish to pay them as and when due and that was why we are seeking suggestions from them. As we are doing this, we are showing them evidence of what we have been getting from the federation accounts and how we have been spending it.”