The Trade Union Congress on Wednesday urged the Bayelsa State Government to seek alternative source of funds to pay November salaries, pending reconciliation of figures by Federation Account Allocation Committee for November.
Tari Dounana, the Bayelsa State chapter Chairman of the TUC, made the suggestion against the backdrop of a statement by Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the Commissioner for Information, blaming the state’s inability to pay November salary on the delayed FAAC meeting.
Dounana said: “Bayelsa is principally a civil service state and we advice the government to source for funds and pay the November salary of workers.
“This is a festive period and workers have made projections for the salary to meet their various obligations.
“The figure will eventually be resolved and things will normalise.
“The hope of workers is that government will find a way and pay, just as the Federal Government has paid its workforce for November.
“And the dependence of states on the federation accounts for salaries is a fundamental challenge facing the system, but it is also interesting that few states have found a way around it.
“Cross River is leading the way in that direction as it pays workers ahead.
“We heard that they have already paid civil servants for the month of December.
“So other state governors should borrow a leaf from the Cross River Government.
“States should find a way to grow their internally generated revenue to be able to offset salaries.”
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the FAAC meeting for November was postponed indefinitely following a protest by Commissioners of Finance from the 36 states over disagreements in the figures tabled for disbursement.
Iworiso-Markson had, in the statement, explained that the non-release of the FAAC funds and expected Paris Club refunds were responsible for the delay in the payment of the salaries of workers for November.
The commissioner assured workers that the government would ensure a prompt payment of the salaries as soon as the funds were released.
He said: “It has become important to explain to our workers why the salary for the month of November has not been paid.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance did not hold the usual FAAC meeting that should precede the release of funds to states and local governments.
“The failure of the government to convene the meeting has culminated in the failure of the Federal Government to release the November allocations to Bayelsa and its entitlements in the Paris Club debt refund.
“However, Bayelsa workers are assured of the government’s commitment to ensure that their salaries are paid as soon as the awaited funds are received.”