• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Plateau Govt. commences payment of salary arrears to workers – Lalong

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The Plateau State Government has received a balance of N5billion from the bailout handed out by President Muhammadu Buhari and has commenced the payment of salary arrears to staff.

This was disclosed by the state governor, Simon Lalong while speaking with newsmen at the State House, Abuja after a closed-door meeting with the President.

According to him, the state has already commenced the payment of the outstanding salaries to the workers and was getting ready to move to other matters.

“I came to thank the President for approving the balance of bailout of N5billion for Plateau state. I kept on drumming it, politicians were saying no we do not have any money outstanding.

“Mr President approved the money on the eve of his departure to London, I got an approval for the balance of N5billion for plateau state which has been drawn for the payment of their balance of arrears, what we have is a balance of arrears on the Plateau.

“I have paid and we have about three months and right now, yesterday and today the workers are already paying them the balance of their
salaries.

“So, after salary for a Plateau man, he is no longer annoyed with anything. He would allow the government to run unhindered.

“So, that was what they were trying to use during the grazing reserve because people were hungry because of lack of salaries”.

Despite bailouts by the Federal Government, about 27 states still cannot fulfil their monthly remuneration obligation to staff.

Last year, a total of N662 billion bailout funds were renegotiated for 27 states in July last year, with 19 states receiving N222 billion from the CBN in September 2015.

The CBN had also approved N338 billion loans to 27 states to pay outstanding salaries at nine percent interest rate over a 20-year-period.

Shedding more light on the reported protest by some youths over the issue of grazing reserves, Lalong said the state government had no plan to establish grazing reserves but ranches for modern animal husbandry.

According to him, the government has consulted widely with a cross section of people including traditional and religious leaders as well as youth organizations before deciding to establish the ranches in the state. Lalong accused his predecessor of instigating the youths to embark on the protest to destabilise the running of government.

“Well that protest is just by a few ethnic groups. We have done a lot of consultations from traditional rulers to religious leaders to youth organisations they all accepted that we should adopt ranching in Plateau State.

“What they are protesting is grazing reserve but we are not talking about grazing reserves. What we are talking about is ranches. So, those who attended the workshop knew what was done.

“This is the Presidency let me say it and I’m going to publish it, the man who introduced and is causing that confusion is Jonah Jang who incidentally was the one who introduced grazing reserves on the Plateau with a gazette in 2009 that is the gazette I am going to publish.

“If you said if we have to bring peace in Plateau State you have to introduce grazing reserves and grazing routes why is he turning round again and instigating people against what is being done.

“And trying to give an impression that it is the President that is introducing it. It is not the President. It is an option to every state to key into the concept of grazing reserve or ranches,’’ he
added.

 

Elizabeth Archibong