From Victor Seyi, ilorin
The Kwara State government has dismissed insinuations that it had diverted the N2.1b received recently from the Federal Government. It also denied receiving N3b from the central government, stressing that it had only received its share of NLNG dividend recently distributed to all tiers of government.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, dismissed as “untruthful” claims made by the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the state
government had diverted the funds.
According to him, the state government had neither received a bail out from the Federal Government nor the N3b claimed by the opposition party.
On the issue of alerting the public about how much was received, Governor Ahmed said government informed officials of the state chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) during meetings held last week to update them on the
funds received and how they will be utilised, adding that the information was also in the public domain.
Ahmed further clarified that the N2.1b NLNG dividend was inadequate to cover monthly obligations which he put at N2.6b. These obligations, he said, include the salaries of civil servants, teachers, pensions, gratuities and subventions to its various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies as well as tertiary institutions.
Continuing, he said the monthly obligations also include statutory first-line deductions for the Judiciary and the Legislative arms of government. Despite this, he continued, the state government had recently paid due salaries to the core civil service as well as pensions. He added that while government regards the payment of salaries as priority, it was also necessary to fund other key people-oriented programmes.
Speaking on the expected bail out from the Federal Government, Ahmed said the rescue package was expected to come in the form of a N300b loan to restructure debts owed by states and a soft loan to states with significant salary arrears. He added that the Federal Government was currently compiling all such loans as a prelude to implementing the expected interventions.
Governor Ahmed dismissed as “frivolous” the PDP’s claim that Senate President Bukola Saraki’s recent private visit to the state was linked to the receipt of the NLNG dividend, stressing that Saraki neither received any funds from the state government nor interfered with the management of funds.
He described as “unpatriotic and wicked” the PDP’s attempt to politicise workers plight in the state, which he re-emphasised, was caused by dwindling FAAC receipts occasioned by drop in global oil prices.
Governor Ahmed however stressed that he remained undaunted by the opposition’s antics and committed to fulfilling his oath to uphold the welfare and security of the people of Kwara State