ILORIN – Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has called for the review of the Revenue Sharing Formula in favour of local governments and states in view of dwindling finances at the two tiers of government.
Governor Ahmed made this call at a meeting with leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Association of Labour Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state on the salary challenges of Local Government workers.
Dr Ahmed said the review of the revenue sharing formula was necessary as the survival of the local governments in the country was threatened. According to him, “we require to restructure the system to avert collapse of the local government. The revenue sharing formula should be reviewed in favour of the local governments and the states”.
He noted that the challenges of the local governments are huge, adding that the state government lacked the capacity to increase or decrease local government allocations as received from Abuja. According to Governor Ahmed, “even the federal government has not been able to extend succor to the local government due to the paucity of funds”.
Dr Ahmed told the local government workers that the issue on ground did not call for strike but brainstorming on how to overcome and proffer solutions to the problems of delays in salary payments.
The governor tabled three options before NULGE on how to resolve salary payment problems. These, he said, include retaining the payment of salaries on prorata basis with an understanding that arrears would be paid; reduction of staff strengths for full payment of salaries of retained staff and payment of salaries for days worked.
The governor, however, added that retrenchment of local government workers was not a credible option as he had promised civil servants in the state that as long as current inflow of funds in the state remained the same the payment of their salaries remained guaranteed.
Reacting to the request of why the allocation for the payment of June salaries of local government workers and primary and junior secondary teachers was skewed in favour of the teachers, Governor Ahmed said this was to ensure that the school children remain in school. “This was done deliberately in order to ensure the education of our children was not jeopardized as anything contrary would have serious negative effects”.
Earlier, the President of NULGE in the state, Comrade Salihu Ayinla Yusuf had raised questions on why the local government revenue sharing formula for the months of June was skewed in favour of primary and junior secondary school teachers. Comrade Yusuf apologized to the state governor on the manner the local government workers protested earlier in the day.