Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Wednesday, absolved the Federal Government of blame over the inability of some state governments to pay their workers’ salaries.
The minister, in a statement signed by her Special Adviser on Communications, Paul Nwabuikwu, said governors of such states should be blamed for the problem in their states ‘because they were told through the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to make the issue of wage a priority.’
She explained that despite the 50 per cent drop in gross federally collectible revenue, the Federal Government had made the issue of workers’ salaries a top priority in order to ensure that the “people do not feel the negative impact of the revenue drop on the economy.”
For instance, the minister said that contrary to the “misinformation being put forward by certain governors to the effect that federal workers are being owed, staff salaries at the Federal level are up-to-date.”
She continued in the statement that the states, being one of the three tiers of government that receive monthly allocations from the Federation Account, should be blamed for their predicament.
“This is to clarify the misinformation put forward by certain governors to the effect that Federal workers are being owed salaries. This is incorrect. Staff salaries at the Federal level are up-to-date; workers have received their April salaries.
“Regarding difficulties in salary payments, certain governors are trying to blame the Federal Government for their predicament. This is wrong. They had been told through the FAAC to prioritise salaries but they chose not to do so, hence the backlog that some states are experiencing.
“The 50 per cent drop in revenues simply means that salaries should be prioritised. The Federal Government should not be blamed for avoidable mistakes made at the state level.”
It would be recalled that the APC governors had during a meeting with the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja, Tuesday, expressed frustrations over their inability to pay workers’ salaries, as they appealed to Buhari to consider a bailout plan for all the 36 state governments after his inauguration on May 29.