MAKURDI – The Special Adviser to Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue on Bureau for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Solomon Wombo, says the councils’ salary payment system would be computerised in May.
Wombo made the revelation while fielding question with newsmen on Friday in Makurdi.
“This is so because the state is largely dependent on the federal allocation as a result of underdevelopment of its revenue sources.
“However, this is not peculiar to our own state, many states are affected,” he said.
He emphasised that the dwindling allocation made it impossible for the state to implement the N18, 000 National Minimum Wage, especially for primary school teachers.
Wombo said that primary school teachers wage bill stood at N2.2 billion, while local government staff wage bill is currently N1.9 billion.
He added that the funds the bureau got per month was far below the monthly bills of the entire local government staff.
“The strategy adopted by Gov. Gabriel Suswam to pay teachers minimum wage was the best because that is the only possible alternative,” he said.
According to him, the governor said he would reduce the salaries of workers from grade level 7 and above by seven per cent and that of his and his appointees by 25 per cent.
He advised workers to come to terms with what the governor had said so as to enable the state government pay teachers their minimum wage.
“When the governor graciously increased the salaries of workers from grade level seven and above immediately he came on board, nobody questioned his authority.
“Now that he intends to reduce their salaries by insignificant amounts there are uproars left, right and centre.
“He intends to do that not for selfish motives but to enable him to pay teachers their minimum wage without pulling the state beyond its financial elasticity,” he said.
He disclosed that the walk out on the governor by Benue workers on May Day was politically motivated and aimed at scoring cheap points. (NAN)