Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has disclosed that workers in the state have been receiving their salaries in the last five years despite the Boko Haram insurgency and current economic realities in the country.
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He said the state was able to prioritize workers’ welfare in the last five years, despite suffering immense losses as a result of the insurgency.
Gov. Shettima, who former Vice President Atiku Abubakar recently said could have been the best governor in the country but for the Boko Haram insurgency, spoke when he hosted members of the Borno Elders Forum and the Business Community in the State for Ramadan Iftar, at the Government House.
Opening up on the challenges of providing N2.6billion monthly to pay workers’ salaries, seeing to the welfare of internally displaced persons and carrying out reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by Boko Haram in the last five years, the governor said it was a rare feat.
“Ordinarily, I don’t consider payment of salaries as achievement because salaries are debts, people worked and should be paid. However, in today’s Nigeria, payment of salaries has become rare and this makes it an achievement especially for a state like Borno that which has been battling with serious security challenges and spending billions over that. Well, we have sustained payment of salaries for an economic reason.
“It is elementary knowledge that salaries of workers mostly stimulate local economies especially in a situation where export is cut and there is gross decline in the number of persons coming into the State not to talk of doing business. We made it a duty to inject funds into the system through prompt payment of salaries by 25th of every month even while we were dealing with serious crisis of rebuilding communities from 2011 to date.
“We had to pay salaries because workers were at a point the only buyers of commodities, traders relied on salaries for the economy to be active. We had to consistently inject N2.6 billion for salaries of workers every month and that money circulated around markets. The money was what was going in circles from markets to the transport system, to the banking sector and to payment of other services. It was the salaries that held Borno’s local economy because nothing was happening before 2015, our exporters couldn’t go anywhere, whatever our traders brought in could only be bought when money circulated and salaries ensured that circulation”, the governor said.
Mr. Shettima further stated that there were times the state had to top as much as N700 million on the monthly revenue from the Federation Account of N1.9b to pay salaries.