Why we can’t pay N57 billion arrears owed workers, pensioners

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The Ekiti State government has explained why it has failed to pay the about N57 billion salaries, gratuities, and pension arrears of workers and retirees in line with its promise when it was inaugurated in 2018.

The Kayode Fayemi-led government, which will end its tenure on 16th October, blamed the recurring economic downturn and paucity of funds in the state for the failure.

It, however, said it had performed well in many other areas such as the construction of a total of 139 kilometres of roads in the last four years, while it also undertook some palliatives on the dilapidated federal roads to make them accessible for motorists.

The Commissioner for Information, Akin Omole, spoke on Friday, at a press conference heralding the 4th anniversary and valedictory ceremonies of Mr Fayemi’s administration and the inauguration of the incoming governor, Biodun Oyebanji.

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Mr Omole said the current government had rehabilitated 14 general and state hospitals and had also initiated operations in one primary healthcare per-ward, in line with the design of the National Healthcare Policy.

He said the parlous state of federal roads in Ekiti was due to increased traffic from adjoining states, especially the upsurge of haulage businesses and cross-border trucks which, he said, piled pressure on some of the highways.

“As at 2018 when Governor Kayode Fayemi came on board, he said that he had the intention of paying all these arrears. But the budget support fund, Paris club, excess crude and other funds we were getting from the FG stopped and we were only collecting monthly allocation. That was what actually stopped us from fulfilling this promise,” Mr Omole said.

“We were still able to pay a part of it. We paid two out of the salary arrears. If our predecessor, who collected all these funds could not pay, then we should ask questions. It is not our intention not to pay all these arrears. But we are glad that we have a government that is coming after us. If there are areas where we have not fulfilled our promises, the next government will start from there.”

He also noted that the Ekiti International Agro-Allied Cargo Airport was a dream come true, not only for the outgoing administration but also for the Ekiti people in general.

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He said although it was projected to be an Agro-Based Cargo airport, it could also be used for commercial passenger operation.

“The Airport boasts a CA5-9 4E category with capacity for Aircraft Boeing 747-400 and a runway length of 3.2km,” he said.


ALSO READ: ASUU Strike: Ekiti University pensioners say members dying over unpaid N1.5bn arrears


Mr Omole added that within the period under review, the Fayemi government had completed projects which include the dual-lane new Ado-Iyin road; construction of Ekiti State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja; reconstruction of Agbado-Ode-Isinbode road; construction of Aramoko-Erijiyan-Ikogosi road; construction of Oye-Ayede-Iye -Otun road and; construction of Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo-road.

He also mentioned Harding Memorial College, Oke-Isa, Ado-Ekiti; New SUBEB Headquarters, Secretariat Complex, Ado-Ekiti, EKZ Model School, Ijan-Road, Ado-Ekiti, and Model School, Isan-Ekiti.

Transportation

In the transport sector, the Commissioner revealed that the government had constructed a Bus Terminal and Pedestrian Walkway/Drain Cover along Ijigbo-Okeyinmi Roundabout in Ado-Ekiti Central Business Area, while also making life comfortable for the elderly by building Old people’s Resort, Ado-Ekiti.

He further said that the state government was making efforts to tackle the menace of insecurity in the state, saying administrative bottlenecks were hindering the purchase of the much-touted drone to monitor the forests and checkmate marauding criminals.

The Commissioner appealed to the federal government to focus attention on the deplorable Federal roads, saying the government would not rest until the needful was done in this regard.

Pensioners in the state had continued to groan over unpaid pension arrears, in what became a campaign issue during the governorship election.

Many of the workers are also being owed months of unpaid salaries, even though the state government claimed it was carrying the labour unions along in the disbursement of federal allocations.


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