Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has begged civil servants in the state workforce to waive their outstanding salaries and arrears owed by the immediate past government.
Mr. Akeredolu made the plea when the committee on arrears of salaries of state public servants submitted its final report at the cocoa conference hall in Akure.
Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi headed the committee, which was inaugurated on the March 7, 2017.
The governor explained that it was becoming increasingly difficult to use state funds to offset workers’ accumulated and outstanding salaries and arrears.
He said the government workers must be prepared to “pay the sacrifices” of waiving their salaries as part of their own contributions to the economic development of the state.
“We have said this many times, we must be prepared to pay sacrifices because we don’t borrow money to pay salaries. If they (workers) meet and say they waive two months, we will be glad, but if they insist on having the full arrears, we will look for ways of paying,” Mr. Akeredolu said.
“I will have to address the workers to let them know that it’s not possible to use all our money to pay salaries,” he added.
He promised that the All Progressives Congress-led government in the state would endeavor to not owe civil servants’ salaries accruing from his assumption of office in February 2017.
“I know it is not easy but it is also getting increasingly difficult for the government, too, but whatever we do, we will try not to owe salaries,” the governor said.
SaharaReporters learned that the governor has paid three months’ salaries - February, March and April - to the government workers of the state.
Our correspondent reported that Mr. Akeredolu has also paid one out of six months’ outstanding salaries owed to the workers by the immediate past governor, Olusegun Mimiko.
Mr. Akeredolu stated that the government would, however, look inwardly for solutions by increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to help address issues of funds in the state treasury.
Submitting the report, Mr. Agboola claimed that of the total salaries owed to civil servants, N38.57 billion was owed to the workers by the immediate past government of Mr. Mimiko.
The deputy governor disclosed that the figure was excluding an additional N41.5 billion which represents outstanding gratuities.
“What the government is owing now is N34.5 billion, representing five months’ salaries as against the six months we met on board and it is outside the N41.5 billion representing outstanding gratuities.”
In June 2016, former Governor Olusegun Mimiko declared that the monthly wage bill, including pensions, of Ondo State was N3.9 billion.
Mr. Mimiko disclosed the figure while pacifying state workers during one of their protests at the front of the government house in Akure before leaving office.
Political pundits have been asking Mr. Mimiko's successor, Mr. Akeredolu, to declare the true figure of the state monthly wage bill since he promised government transparency after being sworn-in as governor.