‘Osun will soon get out of the woods’
As a matter of fact, efforts are in the top gear to ensure that the state’s workers receive their salaries in the next few weeks.
A member of the House of Representatives who represents Ayedade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency of the state, Mrs. Ayo Omidiran, gave the assurance during an encounter with The Guardian.
Omidiran who is one of the conveners of a stakeholders’ meeting held recently to address “the embarrassing situation of wage burden” in the state, said she has the assurance of the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola that the salaries would be paid during or immediately after the Sallah.
Although the lawmaker was not sure how many months of the arrears would be paid she said, “A substantial part, if not all, would be paid by the government.”
The stakeholders’ parley, which was attended by the governor and representatives of the various sectors in the state, appraised the situation in the state and sought ways of getting out of the economic doldrums that resulted in the government’s inability to pick its wage bill.
According to Omidiran, “We are deeply embarrassed by the situation we found ourselves in Osun State. All our on-going projects were abandoned and the workers could not get paid for upward of six months. It is saddening, but I can tell you that Osun will soon get out of the wood.
“But we know the situation was tough and terrible, it is however not beyond our control though we are facing what all the states in Nigeria are facing, paucity of funds. Our wage bill went up astronomically and our revenue depleted seriously. And for a government that has committed all it has to uplift the people of the state, it was a big headache.”
The lawmaker however said succor has come the way of the state through the N34 billion soft loan provided by the Federal Government which has now made it possible for the government to clear the backlog of salaries.
She said, “With the fresh breath that we have got, the state is going to pay the salaries very soon and I have an assurance that it is going to be before or immediately after the Muslim festival. This will have positive effect on the state economy as it is going to permeate down the society.”
Omidiran disclosed further that the state could immediately assess the loan but that “payment of the salaries is being delayed because of the staff auditing that is going on among the public servants.
“In actual facts, it was the leaders of the organized labour in the state that recommended that staff audit should be carried out. This suggestion was made during the stakeholders’ meeting and the government keyed into it so that we can get an accurate figure of what the state needs to pay its workers.
“The audit is also to block all the leakages in government’s expenditure particularly in the areas of ghost workers and other salary anomalies and I can assure you that unlike before, any official that is indicted for aiding fraud in Osun wage management will face the music.”