The Kwara State Council of Chiefs has urged the state government to ensure that the welfare of its workers at all levels remains paramount as soon as the financial status of the state and local governments improves.
This was in a communiqué issued at the close of an emergency meeting. It was signed by the Emir of Ilorin and Permanent Chairman of the Council, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.
The meeting which was held at the Emir’s Palace, Ilorin and attended by members of the traditional council, representatives of all local governments as well as the leadership of the labour unions, was aimed at deliberating on the protracted funding challenges facing the state which had affected workers’ salaries.
“The council observed the workers are entitled to their salaries because it is a right and not privilege because this is their hard earned income.
We sympathise with the plight of the state government in not having enough money for their projects and to satisfy the needs of the people but appeal to the Kwara State Government and the 16 Local Government Chairmen to continue to explore all avenues for stabilizing the situation.
After an exhaustive discussion with the leadership of the labour unions, they have agreed to convince their members to call-off the strike immediately and further resolve that we should work on the governments to ensure that subsequent salaries are regularly paid as and when due.
That the one month salary arrears must be paid before the commencement of the bio-metrics exercise and to also urge the government to review the number of emoluments of political office holders at both state state and local government levels as their status cannot be compared to those of the civil servants.
The state government is also urged to urgently set up a committee to address the issue of ghost workers and pensioners at the local government areas of the state,” the statement said.
The traditional rulers appealed to Kwarans for their continued understanding in these trying times stressing that, “since the government can only meets its obligations, to the citizenry and in particular, the workers and their respective unions, with what it gets from the federation accounts and its internal revenue sources. “
The council notes that the inability of both the State and Local Governments to presently provide adequate funds for the payment of salaries and allowances and meet other commitments of governance, at rates commensurate with past provisions, had arisen due to the drastic fall in the Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account.”
The council, according to the document, also observed that Internally Generated Revenue by both the state and local governments had not been adequate to bridge the funding gap, noting that the newly established Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) would assist in curbing leakages and enhance the revenue base of the state.