Ondo not for civil servants only, govt tells NLC

Olusegun Mimiko

The Ondo State Government on Sunday responded to a letter by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) calling on it to pay workers salaries by stating that the state does not belong to civil servants alone.

Responding to the NLC letter, Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, said the union should note that the structure of the federation makes it impossible for states to thrive in the current economic situation.

According to Akinmade, Ondo received a net allocation of N720 million in the face of a N3.95billion wage bill.

He argued that the available funds are not even enough to pay workers.

“If the resources are there, it will be criminal if we refuse to pay salaries, but the funds are not there,” Akinmade argued.

On NLC’s call for a check on political appointments and patronage, Akinmade said the total salary of political office holders is N50 million out of the N3.95 billion wage bill.

“The easiest way out is to downsize, but the governor has promised that no worker would lose his job on account of the present problem,” he said.

“This is because we believe that it is government’s primary responsibility that citizens are gainfully employed.”

He also said sacking workers would bring untold hardship to the people and their families.

Akinmade noted that the way out was not for workers to embark on strike, but to join government to find the way out of the problem.

“You cannot pay what you don’t have, the state is not only for civil servants. Out of the total population of 3 million, only 68000 are civil servants,” he added.

The NLC had in a letter dated June 5 and signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, called on Governor Olusegun Mimiko to put in place the necessary machinery for the payment of salaries and pensions running into five months.

“Your Excellency, we are not unaware of the present socio-economic challenges in the country,” the letter read.

“However, in our estimation, this should not be an acceptable reason for not paying five months salaries and pensions at the level of the state, and four months salaries and pensions at the level of local government and teachers.

“Sir, you do not need a lecture from anyone, to know that non-payment of salaries and pensions for months on end, constitutes a crime against the workers, pensioners and their families whose lives and obligation to Man and God and their sense of self-worth have been put in jeopardy.

“As one with activist background and one with whom we have had collaboration these issues are clear and self-evident, and therefore need no belabouring.”