Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the current financial challenges facing his government was due to the huge wage bill occasioned by the implementation of the minimum wage for all junior workers since 2012.
The governor who made the comments while inaugurating the state’s 6th House of Assembly on Tuesday, also said that the state had expended N120.4billion on emoluments since 2010 despite receiving a total of N108.3billion as statutory allocation within the same period.
He noted that in addition to the expenditure on salaries, the inclusion of other emoluments would bring the total recurrent expenditure to N206 billion, while statutory allocation and other accruals from Abuja also brought the statutory allocation to N176.5billion leaving a deficit of N30billion.
“Even when we add our internally generated revenue, we were still only able to muster N204 billion and still short by N2 billion. It simply means that all our earning from all sources between 2010 and 2014 could not carry our recurrent expenditure,” Mr. Aregbesola lamented.
He said the problem began in 2012 when the state’s expenditure increased as a result of the hike in minimum wage of the junior workers only, and it raised the total emoluments from N1.4billion to N2.7 billion.
He said, “By December of that year, it hit N3.5 billion. At the same period, our statutory allocation increased marginally from N2.1 billion to N2.5 billion. By July of 2013, our total emoluments hit N4 billion while our statutory allocation was N2.1 billion. By then we had extended the increase to other workers.
“The summary of five years reveal that in the two months of 2010, we received a net allocation of N4.2 billion and paid a total emoluments of N3.6 billion. This left us with a net gain of N573 million from our statutory allocation.
“In 2011 also, we got N29.9 billion allocation and spent N25.8 billion on emoluments with a net gain of N4 billion. However, in 2012, we got N28.4 billion and expended N31.6 billion on emoluments.
“This left us, for the first time, with a deficit of N3.2 billion. The following year, 2013, our statutory allocation had dropped to N26.4 billion while our emoluments rose to N36.9 billion.
“This gave us a whopping N10.4 billion deficit. In 2014, our statutory allocation fell further to N19.3 billion and by which time we were already defaulting on some of our obligations on emoluments, which had also dropped to N22.4 billion, but still left us with a deficit of N3 billion.”
Mr. Aregbesola maintained that his government had been financially prudent despite the numerous challenges facing his administration, adding that his administration had lived within its means trying to fulfil its financial obligations to workers.
He denied that his administration had unnecessarily exposed the state to financial recklessness, as repeatedly held by the opposition.
He also promised that his administration would stop at nothing to ensure that the people of the state got the best of life like they had since he took the mantle of leadership of the state.
Meanwhile, the returned Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam, has called on Osun state workers to show understanding by returning to work.
He said the workers should return to work in the interest of the state, particularly in the light of government’s commitment at clearing the salary backlog.
“Today, the current state of things in Osun was not the making of the state government but as a result of the economic downturn that hit the nation in general.
“The delay in salary will soon be resolved and our state’s economy return to its vibrant path. So, I can assure you that the Governor is working round the clock to bring salary impasse to an end.
“I therefore, call on our able workers to please end the current strike they embark on in the interest of our state and people,” the Speaker said.
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