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KANO: Debt Burden Threatens Workers’ Salaries, Projects

Ganduje-2-7-2-15

Ganduje

The inability of some state governments to pay her workers salary regularly is currently breeding uneasy calm in Kano state, due to the state’s dwindling financial situation.

Critical indices like debt profile, capital liabilities plagued with almost empty treasury, solely inherited by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, analysts opined, are red alert indicating no less bad days ahead.

Owing to fall in the price of crude in the international market about 22 state governors are yet to pay their workers’ salaries ranging from five to seven months.

Although Kano state government has been consistent in the payment of workers’ salaries, there are palpable fears that government may not be able to sustain the tempo.

Aggravating the apprehension were the sharp decrease in the allocation accrue to the state in recent time and the growing recurrent expenditure accountable for almost 85 per cent of the government income.

Like other states badly affected by the dwindling allocation, Kano state is not necessarily immune from the shortfalls.

Before now, Kano was being appropriated between N10bn and N9bn monthly. With the recent decline in the allocation, the state is getting as low as N4.3 billion. Also the State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has declined from N2 billion to N1.2 billion.

Meanwhile information obtained from the State Ministry of Finance showed that there are 143,000 workers in the public service drawn from three categories, mainstream, local government, SUBEB and others.

According to the information, workers in the mainstreams namely ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals which is 44,000 collects N3.6 Billion monthly as salaries. Local government workers that 29,880 take N1.3 billion monthly while 63,000 civil servants are working under SUBEB with monthly salaries of N2.5 billion monthly.

Also, other workers outside the categories mentioned, according to the information corner N330,000 on monthly basis as salaries.

From the analysis about N7.4 billion are being spent monthly on workers’ salaries in the state.
Comparing the state allocation and recurrent expenditure, a senior government official told The Guardian that workers would be extremely favoured to get their June salaries.

“Although a source revealed that nobody can guarantee payment of June salary until we receive the allocation from federal government, but I can assure you Kano state government never joke with workers’ salaries. For whatever we receive workers and pensioner are top priority before anything comes”.

As at the time of taking over power, Dr Abdullah Ganduje inherited about N260 billion liability and abandoned projects. Even with series of capital projects executed by his predecessor, Kwankwaso, contractors are being owed Billions of Naira. This is the reason why several ongoing projects are being abandoned now.

Chairman of Transition committee Prof. Hafiz Abubakar told journalists at the end of the three weeks assignment that about 2,715 abandoned projects were discovered and government is still owing contractors for the completed projects in the state.

According to the deputy governor “ out of 4,019 completed projects government paid N140 Billion leaving N4.5 Billion unpaid. 2,715 projects are not completed. Government also paid N202.5 Billion on the ongoing projects, while about N105 Billion are being owned”.

Meanwhile the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress in the state has vowed to resist any attempt to divert workers’ salaries. NLC Chairman Comrade Kabiru Ado Mingibir told The Guardian that the union is watching government activities with keen interest and would settle for anything low rather than meeting the salary obligation of the workers”

Mingibir said: “ In Kano we don’t have any case relating to non-payment of salaries and we don’t pray to have such because you don’t expect NLC to keep quiet when workers are being denied their entitlement.”

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