Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has replied the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, attributing the State’s inability to pay workers salary regularly to the current downturn in the nation’s economy and the heavy loan burden left by his predecessor.
The governor, in his response to the NLC President’s letter on the ongoing workers strike in the State, called on the NLC to join the advocacy for fiscal restructuring in Nigeria with a view to reviewing the federation allocation formular in favour of States, towards a lasting solution to the palpable indigent status of most States.
The letter read; “I write to acknowledge your correspondence on the current strike action by workers in Ekiti State and I thank you for the expression of concern for the welfare of workers and suggestions on boosting internally generated revenue.
“I want to state clearly that the issues listed in the statement represent the claims of the leadership of Labour in Ekiti State upon which their rather hasty resort to industrial action was premised. Government does not agree with most of the issues, as stated by labour, and had since commenced dialogue with them. The discussions are ongoing and I hope that ressolution(s) will be achieved soon.
“Let me put on record, the demonstrable commitment of my Government to governance principles of accountability, transparency and commitment to the welfare of workers.
“It is an open secret that I paid workers on or before the 22nd of each month during my first tenure.
“It is also known that the current economic downturn is a national issue and consequently the inability of most State Governments to meet wage obligations as at when due.
“Our case is further made more precarious in Ekiti State by the heavy burden of debt left by the immediate past APC government of Dr Kayode Fayemi, on which over N1bn is being deducted from the State allocation monthly.
“Ekiti State economy is not immuned from the national crunch which is the bottomline for the arrears of unpaid salaries and pensions in 28 of the 36 States in Nigeria.
“Based on this, and in addition to your suggestions on boosting internal revenue in States, your congress need to join the advocacy for fiscal restructuring in Nigeria i.e the review of the federation allocation formular in favour of States, towards a lasting solution to the palpable indigent status of most States.
“Please be assured that, it is the policy of my government to involve labour leaders and other critical holders in governance and particularly on decisions on financial matters.
“We remain committed to the principles of accountability and transparency which the leadership of labour in Ekiti State actually need to embrace. They also need to come to terms with the realities of the prevailing economic situation in our country at the moment.
“Once again, I thank you for your interest in the welfare of workers in Ekiti State and I assure you that government will sustain the ongoing dialogue with the leadership of labour towards an expeditious ending of the current industrial action.”