The Osun State government has resolved to settle salary arrears, outstanding pensions and leave bonuses due to its workforce and retired civil servants in the state with the sum of N8bn.
According to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa in a statement released on Thursday, the decision was reached at the state Executive Council Meeting, which was attended by “Appropriation Committee members” headed by the frontline labour leader, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, alongside other labour leaders in the State.
The meeting, which was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola on behalf of Governor Rauf Aregbesola agreed to the payment of arrears of July and August of 2015, balance of leave bonus of 2015 and July 2017 salary of state workers and local government employees.
According to the statement, “the commitment of over 80 per cent of the second Paris club refund is against the 50 per cent recommendation of the Federal Government for the payment of salary of workers”.
The State Government, through the Director of Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Mr Semiu Okanlawon had recently announced the receipt of the sum of N6.3bn as the second tranche of the Paris Fund refund.
However, the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has refuted the claim by civil servants and pensioners in the state that several months of salary and pensions have not been paid, portraying the state as the most indebted federating unit in Nigeria.
Aregbesola, who gave a keynote address at a programme organised by the Police Community Relation Committee, Osun State Axis on Wednesday said” there is need to educate Nigerians about the salary situation in Osun, because some people have been saying that since my administration is conscious about eradicating poverty why not pay workers’ salaries?
“Let me make a resounding correction that despite the paucity of funds, it is only a section of workers on grade level 12 and above who receives painfully 50 percent of their gross salaries based on agreement between the government and the labour union.
“So outside that category of workers on grade level 12 and above, no other receives half of his or her salaries and the workers in this category are just 20 percent of the state workforce.
“Outside that, officers on levels 8-10 receive 75 percent of their salaries while officers on levels 7 and below receive their full pay.
“Contrary to what the naysayers claim about us, all workers in the state have received their salaries up to June this year according to the payment scheme and agreement. The only outstanding salary in Osun is the month we are in and by the grace of God before the month end, every worker will earn their salary in line with the agreement will have with workers.
“I am saying this to correct the impression of those spreading falsehood and capitalising on this that we have been up to our responsibilities as regards the payment of workers’ salaries in accordance with the available resources.
“As we pay active workers, so we pay pensioners. The only outstanding pay to pensioners is the gratuity and this is due to workers who choose not to participate in the Contributory Pension Scheme and therefore left service in 2011/2012.
“The amount required to service that gratuity is about N5billion and we keep on telling them that once we have the capacity to so do, we will surely pay them.
“One thing that is certain about money is that once you don’t have it you can not use it. It doesn’t mean we hate them; its because of limited resources to pay them and meet physical expenditure.
“The pensioners in the state do receive their pensions and what is outstanding is only the N5billion gratuities that we can not afford for now,” Aregbesola said.