TARABA: Workers Receive Salaries Regularly, But Belatedly
Civil servants in Taraba state have not decided to lay down their tools as a result of the delay in the payment of their monthly salaries, but activities at the various ministries, agencies, and parastatals were enough signals that they may soon embark on strike.
The financial predicaments of the state which has increased the state debt profile as observed by The Guardian is the reason for the delay in prompt payment of workers’ salaries.
Unlike other states of the federation where governments have been unable to pay salaries for several months, the reverse is the case in Taraba as workers still receive their monthly payment, except that it is always come very late.
At the state secretariats, most of the civil servants who bared their minds to The Guardian, blamed the immediate past administration for the predicament workers are presently going through in the state.
But rather than embarking on industrial, action, the workers The Guardian learnt have decided to give the much- needed hands of friendship to the new administration to right the wrong of the past government.
According to a top civil servant “ We cannot blame the new administration for our problems. The government has just came in so we have decided to support the government, believing that the government would as well reciprocate.”
Collaborating his colleague, one of the staff said “ since we did not go on strike during the administration of the past government, we believed it would be unjust for us to embark on strike now because this is a new government, and this government is not the cause of the problem we are going through now.”
The state’s debt profile which has risen to over N25billion is what the new government of Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku is still grappling with now. The immediate past Acting Governor, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi, who is now a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, was however not totally exonerated from the increase in the debt profile of the state as he was also said to have borrowed while in office.
Citing his campaign activities and the manner he emerged as the senator representing the North zone of the state, workers in the state believed that both him and the sacked Acting governor were responsible for the woes of workers in the state.
A staff of one of the local government councils disclosed that council workers are more hit by the present financial crisis, said funds meant for councils do get to them.”
According to him, funds meant for Bali local government council from the federation account is about N224million monthly, but what they always give us from the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs is not more than N74million.”
The staff who believed that the leadership of the Bureau should be invited by the anti- graft commissions for questioning, said workers in the state would have been the best in the country, but for the greediness of the past administration.
Apart from the Academic Staff Union of the state University that have been on strike for the past six months, due to the alleged refusal of the state government to made available to them their relevant dues, other public servants in the state have decided to tamper justice with mercy by reporting to their duty post daily even though they have not being carrying out meaning activities in their offices.
Not comfortable with the delay in the payment of worker salaries, the incumbent governor is living no stone unturned to herald smiles on the faces of workers.
Demonstrating his willingness to carry workers along, a plea from him, has gone to the state chapter of ASUU to tread the paths of other workers by opening their lecture halls for students
The governor who made the plea through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Anthony Andrew Jellason, said the new administration has inherited huge debts and needed some time to at least settle down and devise ways of solving the numerous challenges facing the state.
“I want to use this medium to call on our citizens, particularly friends and relations of these lecturers to help us beg ASUU to consider the financial condition of this government and in the interest of the state and the students call off the strike.
“The essence of setting up the university was to have our children in school. Keeping them now at home is of no help to us at all. This government is just few days in office and you can’t expect this government to do so much within these few days.
“These challenges were not caused by this government. ASUU should call off their strike and give the governor the three months grace he has requested to enable him put certain things in place,”
The governor who urged the people of the state to be patient and support the government reiterated his readiness to deliver on his campaign promises.
The situation is becoming so bad that even junior workers especially those employed to keep the premises of the state secretariat clean are reluctantly doing their job.