Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Tuesday said the state is not immune to the steady decline of revenue, adding however, that the administration will continue to make payment of full salaries a first line charge because of its wider implications for staff welfare and the local economy.
The Governor said states are getting abysmally low revenue receipts to the extent that allocations from Abuja to Kwara are hardly enough to pay full salaries and run basic government expenses until the allocation is augmented with IGR which ought to be for infrastructural development and savings for the future.
“Our policy is to make sure that we pay 100 salary and this is exactly what we have been doing since day one. All of our allocations and part of IGR now go into paying salary and running basic government expenses. We hardly have leftovers. So, we are struggling because the money is just not there. On top of that, we are having to give money to the local governments to pay 100% salary. After this is done, nothing is left,” he said at a meeting with the heads of Kwara State Colleges of Education, including the College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies.
“We are aware of your requests and we truly want to do them. However, we are currently constrained by resources.
“Allocation has gone down. We are having to augment payment of salary and cost of governance from what is spendable of our IGR. Our ongoing capital projects are funded with bond. And it is simply impossible to use bond money to do any other thing because the terms of accessing the bond prevent such things. The bond we took is such that you cannot take a kobo out of it to do anything not listed in the terms. I urge everyone to bear with us. For now, we are only able to pay salaries 100% and this is in fact a struggle. However, paying salary as and when due is a thing we take very seriously.”
The Governor said he expected a better understanding from the COED teachers on their agitation majorly over an agreement signed since 2011 and was not implemented by previous administration, adding that this administration, unlike its predecessors, has never defaulted in full salary payment and other basic needs unlike before.
He said the government is not opposed to requests for improved welfare and had indeed offered something its purse can afford at this time, adding that it would be wrong and immoral for it to commit to an agreement it lacks the resources to implement now especially with the steady fall in revenue over the past six months.
“We don’t believe in gerigedi salary, which we met, and we don’t want to ever be tagged as an administration that was not paying full salary. This is the understanding that we seek. I think we deserve a better treatment. We feel betrayed by their strike despite our sacrifices to ensure everyone gets full pay at this austere time.”
The meeting was also attended by the Honourable Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, Ibrahim Suleiman, and all the provosts of the school.