The Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has officially cleared the air on the allegation that his government diverted the recent Paris Club loan refund he got to other means other than what it was meant for.
Fayose described those who made the allegations as frustrated liars.
He said: “I’m somebody that whenever I receive allocation or any money from the Federal Government I usually invite all the workers’ leaders to a roundtable to discuss on how the money should be used in payment of salaries and emoluments and other things.
“I do this so that whenever my enemies spread any falsehood, I usually advice the people to ask the labour leaders in the state and local government areas so they can explain to them and let them know that I usually carry them along on how we use the allocations here.
“I have nothing to hide.
“Money is good though, but even if we have the whole money in the world, it cannot return me as governor.
“The fact is that the Paris Club loan refund that came to the state was N8.8 billion out of which N5.4 billion belonged to the state government, while N3.4 billion belonged to the local government.
“Out of our own N5.4 billion, we signed an agreement with the Federal Government that 50 per cent of it would go to human capital development by way of gratuities, pensions and salaries, etc, all that could be described as renumeration for the labour force.
“Fifity per cent of our N5.4 billion, which is N2.7 billion.
“So we used that to settle one month arrear of every entitlements to public workers, civil servant pensioners, subvention in our institutions.
“That is the truth of it.
“The remaining 50 per cent is in the revenue consolidated account of the government to meet other financial obligations to other sectors of the economy.
“The staff renumeration and welfare is just one out of several sectors that the state government is financially responsible to.
“So, the issue of money being diverted to other things doesn’t arise here in Ekiti.
“We do the needful at all times.
“When we receive any money, we call a meeting of the stakeholders and decide on what to do.
“We table all our obligations to all sectors and then we prioritize our actions.
“You remember the election that gave me a second term, they were giving people money to vote for them, but the people collected their money and turned back to vote for me.
“That shows that the people want the good character in a governor.
“We are not ungrateful people in Ekiti.
“Let them bring all their soldiers, police and all that, we will defeat them again.”
Explaining further, Chief Toyin Ojo, the State Commissioner for Finance, said: “We table all our obligations to all sectors and then we prioritize our actions.
|Such obligations include security, police, army, contingency vote of Mr. Governor, powering the street lights, maintaining the dams to supply water to all the nooks and crannies of the state, etc.
“Apart from these recurrent expenditure, we also have our capital expenditure.
“The combination of the budget is both capital and recurrent.
“In fact, by the World Bank standard, 60 per cent of the money should be spent on capital expenditure, but in our case, we have more on recurrent because of the high labour cost.
“What we spend here is about 60 per cent to recurrent and 40 per cent to capital and we are adhering to it strictly.
“We don’t joke with actualizing our budget.”
Ojo gave the breakdown of how the money was channeled for state use: July MDAs salary: N1.4 billion; allowances and social welfare, N1.4 billion; feeding and maintenance of special schools, Ido, N2.4 million; feeding and maintenance of special school, Ikoro, N855.6 million; July 2016 subvention: N722,468,038.83; June 2016 pension, N323,463,439.79, all totaling up to N2,461,845,132.16.
Comrade Ade Adesanmi, the Ekiti State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, also cleared air on the controversial loan refund, saying critics only enjoy spreading falsehood in criticism.
The labour leader denied that any worker received N250 million alleged to have been shared to them by Fayose.
Adesanmi said the allegation of the N250 million bribe had already been circulated by the opposition before workers went to Ikogosi waterfalls for the training as a protest by some youths in the town had forced them to shift the date of the commencement of the training.
He said each participant only got a sum of N10,000 for the three-day training for their transport allowance.
Speaking about the promotion which the government’s critics have described as a ruse, Adesanmi said: “If there was a government that didn’t promote workers due for promotion in 2012 and 2013 and we have another government that said all the backlog of promotions should be done at once, I think that kind of government should be commended rather than castigating government that it is a ruse.
“For those of us present in employment, once you take your promotion letter, there are usually two dates in it. The notional date and the financial effective date.
“The financial effective date would probably take effect from the month when you receive the letter.
“The notional effective day is when the promotion was supposed to have taken place.
“Take for example, those of the workers who were supposed to have been promoted since 2014, the notional effective date on their letter would read 2014 and financially effective from March, 2017.
“When government gives approval, it doesn’t translate to automatic letter of promotion, there are procedures to be followed.
“For the junior staff, it is just one step.
“About the bailout, there are about three of such that this government has got.
“The first one that was taken around early 2015, it was about N9.6 billion.
“The labour was duly informed and the money was judiciously used.
“Although, not all the money that state government asked for that was given.
“That is why there are still issues yet to be resolved.
“The second bailout was the budget support and since this state government has been getting that, it has been assisting it in solving the issue of salary arrears.
“We, the labour leaders in the state are privy to all these.
“The third bailout is this issue of Paris Club loan refund.
“Initially, we heard on the social media that it was N84 billion.
“Later it came to N43 billion and later it came to N14 billion on the social media.
“What the state actually got was N8.8 billion.
“The local government got N3.4 billion.
“The state got N5.4 billion.
“And the agreement the various states have with the FG was to use at least 50 per cent of that money to offset backlog of salaries and pensions.
“And when you look at the 50 per cent of N5.4 billion, it is N2.7 billion, while the wage bill at state level is N2.6 billion.
“So, that Paris money was actually used to pay our July salary and when that was paid, it included everybody, the subvented institutions and pensioners were paid.”
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