By Emmanuel Acha
Enugu – Enugu State Government says it has yet to expend its share of the second tranche of Paris Club refund as there is no pressing need for it now.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Ogbuagu Anikwe, made this known in a statement in Enugu on Monday.
Anikwe said that the government was already meeting its obligation of paying workers salaries and pensions before the issue of Paris Club refund came up.
He said that the government was not indebted to its workforce and pensioners unlike other states that utilised their share to offset such debts.
The commissioner explained that the fact that the state government had not expended its second tranche share of the refund should not be misconstrued as owing salaries.
“Enugu state public workers’ salaries used to be paid promptly on the 25 day of each month.
“However, beginning from three months ago, the governor ordered that civil servants be paid on the 23rd of the month.
“By this executive stroke, Enugu state has become the first state in Nigeria to pay its workers early, with effect from three months ago,” he said.
Anikwe said that though the state was in a precarious situation and sat fifth from the bottom of the monthly federal allocations, it was prudent in managing its resources.
“The governor has through prudent management of resources and an aggressive internal revenue generation, fully discharged his obligations to workers.
“The state still embarks on massive projects to promote its agenda of employment generation, maintenance of social services, and management of security and peace,” he said.
He added that the state government had shown transparency in the management of the refunds since it started receiving it.
The commissioner said that officials of the labour unions and other stakeholders in the state were usually privy to how the funds were disbursed.
“What the state does each time it receives her share of the refund is to immediately call for a meeting of the stakeholders, including representatives of labour unions and pensioners.
“Such meetings also include leaders of traditional institutions and community-based associations, and development experts to decide how best to utilise the refund,” he said.
He said that sharing formula of the funds was established between the states and local councils at the meetings.
“The portion reserved for salary and pensions payments are set aside and used to pay workers and pensioners as and when due.
“Considering that many states are not in a hurry to share the refunds with their local councils, we think that Gov. Ugwuanyi should be commended for this visionary leadership,” Anikwe said. (NAN)