President Muhammadu Buhari seems to be unhappy with the way some state governors are manging their budgets. The President expressed his displeasure while receiving a group of governors lead by the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum Abdulaziz Yari. He also wondered how the unpaid workers were surviving.
How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months ? I actually wonder how the workers feed their families, pay their rents and even pay school fees for their children
Governors state their defence
While defending their colleagues, the governors blamed the arrears on the huge debt portfolio left by their predecessors. At the meeting, they also requested that the federal government pay them the remaining half of the Paris bail out funds. The Paris club refunds were payments of over deductions made from their Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for external debt servicing from 1995-2002. N760 billion has been released to the states so far.
The explanations are not tenable
The excuses given by several of the governors for their inability to pay workers are not tenable. On receiving the bail out funds, several governors embarked on white elephant Projects. Some of the funds were also allegedly embezzled, prompting the involvement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) picking up officials in some states. Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha was recently alleged to have spent hundreds of millions constructing statues honouring some African heads of state, despite owing workers salaries and pensions.
The Federal Government is also guilty
The financial recklessness by the states, is also prevalent in the way the federal government runs its finances. About 70% of the federat budget is spent on recurrent expenditure (salaries and wages).