Osun State government says N19.8 billion has been disbursed for the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.The amount, according to Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, covers full salaries for August 2018, arrears, and pension from September to December 2015 as well as leave bonuses.
Oyebamiji said Governor Rauf Aregbesola gave the directive for the payment after consultation with the labour unions and other stakeholders in the state.The commissioner, who addressed the media at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Finance, State Secretariat, Osogbo, yesterday disclosed that the payment was made with the N16.6 billion latest Paris Club refund received by the state from the Federal Government.
He said the state government added N3 billion accrued from other sources to the Paris Club refund to ensure that all the workers are paid.According to him, this is not the first time the Aregbesola administration will commit such lump sums received from the Federal Government to payment of salaries and pensions.
Similarly, he noted that N924 million was paid in the same 2016 to cover the leave bonus of September to December, “Again, in July 2017, the government received N6.3 billion as the second tranche of Paris Club refund and paid N6 billion as salaries, pensions and leave bonuses. The breakdown is as follows: N3.76 billion as workers salaries, N504 million as leave bonuses, N791 million as pension and N935 million as salaries in the Local Governments.
“Since the commencement of the Aregbesola administration in November 2010, salaries, pensions and workers emoluments had taken not less than 80 per cent of the total revenue of the state. Indeed, a sizeable portion of the state’s debt was incurred on salaries.
“When the administration came, monthly workers salaries was N1.4 billion while pensions was N200 million. However, with the increase of minimum wage from N9,000 to N19,000 and hiking of monthly pensions to N500 million, monthly salaries and pensions rose to N3.6 billion,” he said.
“Though there was a steady increase in revenue till the late 2013, however, by 2014, oil price commenced a steady decline, dropping to as low as $22 in 2015 from the height of more than $100 in 2013,” the commissioner noted.
According to him, the decline in oil revenue has affected revenue accruing to the state from the Federation Account which in turn affected workers across the the federation.
Oyebamiji explained that the option available to the government was to rightsize the workforce, but consultation with labour leaders and other stakeholders under the leadership of Comrade Hassan Sunmonu came up with an ingenuous arrangement of modulated salary whereby workers on grade level 1-7 were paid full salaries, levels 8-12 were put on 75 percent while level 12 and above received 50 percent of their salaries.
The modulated salary sustained the state till July this year when rise in oil price led to an increase in revenue to Osun and the state promptly responded by resuming payment of full salaries for July.“For the second month, we have now paid full salaries to all our workers. It is my hope and prayers that this will be sustained, and we will never have cause to modulate workers salaries in Osun again.”