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Prepare For Empty Treasury, APC Govs Warn Buhari

Posted: May 6, 2015 at 1:52 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•Lament Inability To Pay Salaries •Plateau Civil Servants Begin Indefinite Strike

By Rotimi Akinwumi (Abuja) and Onoja Audu (Jos)


Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, raised the alarm over the parlous state of the nation’s treasury, urging the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari to prepare for the harsh realities as he assumes office on May 29.

The governors, under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum, at a meeting with Buhari, lamented that the out-going administration led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would be leaving behind an empty treasury.

Gen. Buhari

Gen. Buhari

As a sign of how the economy has degenerated, they warned that government may be unable to pay April and May salaries.

The forum, led by its Chairman, Rochas Okorocha, “one of the issues that became of concern to all of us is the state of the Nigerian economy which is really in bad shape.

“As it stands today, most states of the federation have not been able to pay salaries and even the Federal Government has not paid April salary and that is very worrisome. By May and June, salaries will be in cumulative of three months.

“We wonder with the huge expectation from Nigerians and people who have voted us into power, we are hoping that the president-elect will do all the things whatever is humanly possible to bring about a bailout not only on the states but the Federal Government at least for people to get their salaries and turn around the economy.

“We have seen the reason to work together and support Mr. President and we have also called on all our brothers in other political parties to come along with us to build the Nigeria of our dream,” Okorocha stressed.

Briefing reporters on behalf of the group after a close door meeting, Okorocha said there was no magic anyone can perform under the present situation.

“So, here you have an incoming president coming in to meet an empty treasury and that tells you the challenges we have ahead of us,” he added.

Responding, Buhari told his visitors that he was not oblivious of the high expectation of the people from his government, this was why he said, he had been telling the people that Rome was not built in a day.

Continuing, the President-elect said security remains top on his agenda “because if there is no security, there is no development.”

He assured that after assuming office on May 29, he would urge Nigerians to give his administration a chance to stabilise the security situation, lamented what he called the destruction of social infrastructures, especially in education sector.

He however assured that he would do everything within his power to ensure every part of the country is safe.

Meanwhile, there are reports that as many as 30 of the nation’s 36 States owe workers’ salaries running into several months, following which labour unions have announced plans to go on strike soon.

The latest of them is Plateau, where workers in the state civil service, on Tuesday embarked on an indefinite strike, following the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum issued to Governor Jonah Jang to clear their outstanding salaries and pensions.

The ultimatum expired on Tuesday, workers stayed away from their duty posts, while only Permanent Secretaries  and some senior staff were left to handle office duties.

It would be recalled that the May Day celebration in the state last Friday was marked in a low-key as nonpayment of salary arrears kept workers at home ahead of Tuesday’s industrial action.

State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Jibrin Bancir, said the workers had no option but to down tool, owing to the trauma and anguish the Jang administration had subjected them to.

Bancir, who addressed a press conference at the state NLC secretariat, said the action was taken to stop the outgoing administration from further subjecting them to slavery.

Besides, Bancir extended a hand of friendship to the incoming administration, urging it to pay attention to the welfare of workers and their families.

“There is no doubt that our future has been destroyed by a few, who did not mean well for the well being of workers on the Plateau,” he lamented.

Responding, Plateau State Commissioner of Information, Mohamadu Badu, appealed for patience as efforts are being made to clear the backlog of salaries.