Local government workers under the auspices of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), in Kwara State, have kicked against the appointment of consultants to prepare and pay their salaries.
The NULGE secretary in the state, Mr Afolabi Abayomi, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Ilorin, the state capital.
He said each of the 16 local government councils has a treasurer that heads its accounts department with full complement of accounting staff that had been preparing the salaries since the creation of the councils.
Abayomi, therefore, wondered why the state government went ahead to engage consultants to pay salaries of the workers in the local governments,thus, rendering local government workers employed for the purpose redundant.
He lamented that these consultants would be drawing 30 per cent out of the already low and inadequate allocations to the local governments, thereby worsening the hardships in the councils.
“Appointing consultants to prepare and pay local government workers is illegal and unconstitutional, local governments have enough staff to prepare their workers’ salaries.
“It is a way of siphoning money from the already dwindling local governments’ allocations, imaging the consultants receiving 30 per cent from the councils’ allocations,” he said.
The NULGE scribe, therefore,appealed to the state government to revert the appointment of consultants and let the workers in the accounts’ department continue to prepare salaries of local government staff.
Abayomi said the N1 billion the state government gave local governments out of the N5 billion it received from the Federal Government, was not enough to pay the November salaries of workers in the local governments.
He said that the money was to augment the November salaries with N600 million, adding that the remaining N400 million would be added to December salaries.
“Monthly wage bill in the local governments is N2.2billion, which covers State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), local government staff, pensioners and Junior Secondary (JSS) teachers’ salaries.
“To be given only N1 billion to meet all these responsibilities with all the wide publicity given it was insincere,” he said.
Abayomi said the N5 billion was given by the Federal Government with specific instruction to pay backlog of local government workers’ salaries.
He called on the state government to abide by the instruction of the Federal Government and the State House of Assembly to use the N5 billion to offset backlog of salaries to workers.
Abayomi also advised the state government to grant autonomy to local governments to run their fiscal activities as they deemed fit.
According to him, the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC), should be scrapped to allow local government councils handle their finances as the third tier of government.