Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, Friday explained that the rapid shortfall in the federal allocation accruing to his state negatively affected his budget and led to his inability to pay workers’ salaries.
Speaking when he fielded questions from State House correspondents, shortly after he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Defence House, Abuja, Aregbesola said no head of the family would like to see members of his family go hungry.
“But no matter how sad (I don’t want to use the word ‘depressed), no matter how unhappy I am, the truth is that I will not fail to say that it is a situation absolutely beyond my control.
“I led an administration in receipt of regular allocation in which I do my budget. Unfortunately, this allocation started falling in rapid form that totally disorganised my budget and any other arrangement.
“For those who want to be objective, Osun of November 2010 when I assumed office and Osun of today are not the same. People must give credit to the changes that we have brought about in Osun. The changes were not miracles, they were changes occasioned by application of resources.
“But with the unexpected and sharp decline in our revenue, we had dislocation. The result of that dislocation is this quite sad experience.
“Were it to be Osun alone, probably I would not have an excuse. I pray it does not continue. I am not sure if there will be any state that will actually escape from the biting effect of the absolute sharp drop which I call economic disaster that we are grappling with.
“Since my inauguration on November 27, 2010, I had made it a duty to pay salary on or before 25th of every month up until January 2014 when that became practically impossible.”
“I have been giving the same staff who today are, regrettably and painfully, not being paid annual bonus that we call 13th month salary. There was no demand for it. I just felt that workers must be encouraged, they must be inspired.
“I did that religiously and faithfully from 2010 to 2013. The development that led to this began precisely in July when we received the June allocation and it was short by 40 per cent.
“Since then, what we have been receiving from the Federation Account is less than the wages, personnel cost. It is far and not mildly less.
“We struggled with it till October 2014. By that time, there was nothing we could do. Add to it is that we could not even go to bank to borrow to pay the wages commitment.
“It is a sad development. I am struggling to reduce the pain as much as possible and I am almost at the end of the efforts I am making to ensure that by the end of this month, I will have enough to at least meet to a large extent the salary needs of the workers,” Aregbesola said.
Workers in Osun State are currently on strike after they endured working without pay for six months. The government has not paid them for seven months now.