On Salaries Issue: FG’s Condition Worse Than States’, Oshiomhole Emphasizes

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, emphasized that the Federal Government’s financial standing is worse than the states’.

Oshiomhole said this during a programme on Channels Television titled, “View from the top”.

About 18 states owe workers salaries while many others have stopped all capital projects, following the drop in federal allocations caused by the drop in global oil price.

However, Oshiomhole said the Federal Government’s was also struggling.

He said the only reason why that of the Federal Government was not noticeable was because of the Federal Government’s easy access to funds.

He noted that the Federal Government controls the Central Bank of Nigeria and can approve any amount of money for itself.

The governor said the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was largely to blame for the current financial crisis besetting the country because she failed to save for the rainy day.

He said, “When analysts and commentators allude to the facts which everybody can see that many states, maybe as much as two-thirds of the states, are not up to date in payment of salaries, allowances and other obligations to their work force, what is not often stated is the fact that the Federal Government is just in the same bad shape.

“The only thing for us is that under the immediate past minister of finance, they have borrowed rather recklessly in trillions of naira to meet the wage obligation of the Federal Government.

“For example, Jonathan can be said to pay wages, only to the extent that Okonjo-Iweala borrowed from CBN, from various bond instruments, including drawing down over N3 trillion from pension funds. So, civil servant savings, what we call the workers’ capital in the trade union parlance, is what the former minister drew from heavily to fund the wages of federal employees.”

The governor insisted that if Nigerians say governors were extravagant in spending and did not save for a rainy day, what about Okonjo-Iweala who was in charge of over 50 per cent of oil revenue.

When asked to defend his statement in the face of Okonjo-Iweala’s claim that governors did not allow her to save for a rainy day, as they always wanted proceeds of the Excess Crude Account, Oshiomhole said the minister was only making baseless accusations.

He said, “That is one-quarter of the truth. What you should have asked her is that if they assume that the Federal Government is a responsible manager who believes a rainy day is coming under Okonjo-Iweala and you have me and the 35 others who are reckless, you should have asked her where are the federal savings meant for a rainy day?

“All the 36 states plus Abuja share 26 per cent of the money. This means for every N100 that Nigeria earns, 36 state governors share N26 while N52.6 goes to the Federal Government plus ecology and other deductions.

“There are other organisations whose funds ought to flow directly into the Federation Account and they never flowed there – Nigeria Ports Authority, various institutions, the health sector, the maritime sector, NNPC, various agencies, the gas sector – all of these ought to flow into the FAC and they never got there.

“The governors have control over their share which is 26 per cent. Mr. Federal Government has control of 52.6 per cent. Where are Okonjo-Iweala’s savings of the federal portion? If she can show where she saved it, then you can proceed to say she was right. She didn’t save for the Federal Government for a rainy day.”

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