OSUN State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has revealed that he can no longer continue to pay civil servants in his state because the banks have stopped lending money to the government after it accumulated a loan of N24 billion.
According to him, “The challenge I face today was not my making, it is a national problem. I borrowed N24 billion to pay salaries, but when the banks say I cannot borrow again, there is nothing I can do in the face of dwindling revenue accruing to the state.”
Aregbesola has been unable to pay salaries of the state’s civil servants since November last year.
“I am not shifting blame and I bear responsibility, but it was a responsibility the Nigerian state forced on me. I am still labouring physically and spiritually to pay the workers’ salary,” he added.
He said despite raising the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) from N900 million annually to N3.6 billion he was yet to pay workers’ salary because the banks were not forthcoming on further loans.
He spoke in Abuja ob Sunday June 21, 2015 at the annual Ramadan Lecture of the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society of Nigeria with the theme “Ramadan: Changing Positively”.
He, however, said that contrary to reports, local governments and other categories of workers were being paid and not owed, except workers under the State’s Civil Service Commission.
“How can anyone accuse me of mismanaging the resources of the state when my campaign promises was based on populace welfare and infrastructural development?
“By God’s Grace, I have delivered on most of the promises. Initially, it was thought that only Osun owed workers salary, but it can be seen that it is a national issue and that 23 of the 36 states of the federation owed their workers” he said.
He, however, assured his people that he was working tirelessly to ensure that those being owed are paid.
While speaking at the 7th Bola Tinubu Colloquium organised to mark Tinubu’s 63rd birthday in Lagos in March, Aregbesola said the federal allocation to the state had reduced by 40 per cent since 2013.
He said the situation became so bad at a time that he resorted to the state’s reserves and exhausted it on payment of salaries.
He said: “Osun is next to Lagos in the sheer size of its civil service.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
“In fact, the state inherited 50 per cent of all the workers in the old western state and more than 75 per cent in the old Oyo State.
“I was meeting my wage bill of over N3.6 billion with N4.6 billion federal allocation until July, 2013 when the Federal Government announced a decline of about 40 per cent allocation to states.
“This reduced the state’s allocation from N4.6 billion with which I was meeting my bills to N2.6 billion. Since then, Osun has had to augment salaries by sometimes N1 billion, sometimes N1.6 billion.”