20th March, 2016
The Government of Osun on Sunday described as uncalled for insinuations that the state would not pay salaries of its workers in March as a result of the N6 million federal allocation that accrued to it for the month of February.
The Government assured its workers that just as the Rauf Aregbesola administration had weathered the storm to pay salaries up to December, the government is executing with the support of all stakeholders, including the workers, a well-mapped out strategy for ensuring that workers are not made to pay more price for the dwindling allocation than they have done.
A statement by the Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor, which was signed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, explained that the considerably reduced FAAC allocation is no more news to the state.
The state received less than N150 million from October to date, due to the repayment obligations for the Infrastructure Programmes it has been prosecuting. In spite of the heavy obligations, Osun has paid more than N5 billion in salaries between the same period.
“FAAC is not only the source of revenue to the state, and the commendable support of workers has allowed us to stretch our reserves and other sources to pay workers on mutually agreed terms as well as fulfill our development promises to the majority of the people
“As at today, the process for the payment of January salaries is at the final stages. Osun workers will receive their salaries from this week in preparation for Easter holidays.
“The state today remains a major projects site employing thousands of our people in simultaneous construction of major roads, model schools and other infrastructure mostly to be completed before the end of the year. Osun is therefore fulfilling its obligations to the people and running government. The state calls all that care to come to visit Osun to see for themselves the mood in the state rather than pander to rumours, conjectures and lies.”
The statement added that Osun, by virtue of its poor allocation, has never had the opportunity of ample resources that are commensurate to the humongous responsibilities of payment of salaries, payment of pensions and gratuities, and implementation of capital projects.
“But due to prudent management of resources, creative infrastructure financing, this government has been able to fulfill its obligations in all these critical areas of governance.
“The fact remains that Osun, under Aregbesola, did not have to wait for the day the state would get N6 million as allocation before proffering solutions towards sustainable economic self-reliance.
“This is why Osun has reduced the cost of governance, moved aggressively to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), sought to attract investments into the state through provision of hitherto non-existent infrastructure and enabling environment and instituted performance-driven governance.
“It must be noted that all hands are on deck towards more convenient repayment schedule of existing loans as part of plans to free the state’s resources for critical needs of governance. This is in addition to the drive for internally generated revenues the performance of which is very encouraging,” the statement added.
The Bureau therefore called on some critics of the government who are capitalising on the last allocation to make unguarded statements to desist from such, noting that Osun’s resources could not have been better utilized than what the Aregbesola had done in the last five years.
“We are aware of those whose job it is to confuse unsuspecting members of the public through their mischievous statements. The question these self-appointed critics of the Aregbesola administration should be asked is: if they demand that further funds should not be released to this government, what has happened to all the loads of lies-laden petitions they had sent to the Federal Government?” it asked.
It said that the ordinary people of Osun recognize the people-oriented programmes of the administration, adding “We are consoled by the fact that the ordinary people -the focus of this administration- appreciate the enormous work this government has done.
“This government set out an ambitious and radical agenda to reposition our people for productivity which entailed prosecuting and funding a major human and Physical Infrastructure Revamp. It has delivered 200km of rural roads in partnership with the World Bank. It delivered over 300Km of roads across all Local Governments, over 70 model schools across the state so far. It all delivered major Human Development Programmes that now place the state among those with the Highest Human Development Index in the Country.
“The global crisis of 2013 led to a reduction of 40% in receivables and the unilateral national minimum wages foisted on states increased expenditure by average of 70%. These unforeseen challenges slowed this government development agenda and has forced government to restructure. We are prosecuting this course carefully.
“Our commitment to the delivery of development to the people remains non-negotiable. Osun will fulfil, by the Grace of God, its promise to the people. The current situation is akin to squeezing water out of stone, difficult but not impossible.”