NLNG Fund Is Not For States To Pay Salaries, Says Ahmed

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Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has said that the Federal Government did not give any state government money to pay backlog of workers’ salaries.
Ahmed made this clarification on Thursday during a live radio programme; “Governor Explains” in Ilorin.
According to him, what Kwara State got from the Federal Government was its
share of dividend from Nigerian Liquefy and Natural Gas (NLNG.

He said the money ought to have been shared during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan and that it was only released by President Muhammadu Buhari after a meeting he had with all state governors.

Governor Ahmed declared that contrary to claims in some quarters, the Federal Government would not give money to any state to pay workers’ salaries.

He said Kwara received N2.1 billion from the NLNG while the 16 local government councils received N1.4 billion.

The governor said the NLNG dividend was not supposed to be used to pay salary, but should be kept to augment federal allocations to meet government’s obligations to the people.

“But in Kwara State, we use part of the money to pay workers’ salaries especially as the Sallah celebration was drawing nearer,” he stated.
Governor Ahmed said during the meeting, three crucial issues were discussed with the President which included refund of money spent on federal roads in the state.
He said the governors also discussed sharing of all monies accruing to the Federal Government and bail out on the payment of existing loans taken by the state governments.
According to Governor Ahmed, virtually all states in the country have incurred a lot of debt through bonds and bank loans. This, the governor said, has really affected allocations coming to the states as loan repayment were deducted from source.
Dr Ahmed added that the Federal Government only offered to take over all loans taken by the states, adding that President Buhari did not give them money as bailout.
He said the Federal Government decided to take over the loans to allow state government have more money for salaries and other projects.

The governor said that instead of paying back the loan in four years, it would now be spread over 20 years to give state governments temporary respite.
“State governments will now have to pay less on the loan monthly and have enough fund to pay workers’ salaries and execute other projects,” Ahmed added.
Governor Ahmed reiterated his government’s commitment not to retrench any worker in the state even as the state planned to introduce new Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) system in Kwara.
He also assured the people of the state that government would not introduce any new form of taxation, adding that what the government wants from the people was total compliance to the new system.
The governor added that to increase the state IGR, government has decided to consolidate its tax collection system. He said because of the dwindling financial resources of the state,
there would be a reduction in the cost of running government and merging of some ministries to cut cost.
Governor Ahmed also said that he would announce names of his commissioners within the next one month, adding that the lean purse of government that has made him not appoint commissioners.

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