By Appolos Christian
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State has said that no state governors have reasons to owe salaries and pensions.
In an interaction with journalists in Abuja on Monday when he commissioned the newly constructed national headquarters of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Governor Gaidam said that his position remains that there is no justifiable reason for any governor not to pay salaries and pensions.
He therefore advised governors who are yet to clear all their salary arrears, pensions and gratuities to do so by placing the payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities in the first line charge.
Gaidam canvassed that governors should suspend other expenditures for salaries and pensions when allocations to their states from the Federation Account drop.
The governor said: “I advised them to be prudent and accountable in the management of the scare resources they receive from the Federation Account. If you are prudent and organised, it will help you to properly plan on how to apply the little resources you are receiving from the Federal Government. And this will ensure that salaries are paid as at when due. If you are prudent, you should be able to achieve paying worker’s salaries and realise other things in your plan.
“I wish to place on record that the cumulative effects of our reform measures in the public financial management which is a product of our high standards of accountability and prudent management of scarce resources in our state has made the Yobe State government to be above board and keep paying salaries, overhead costs, pensions and gratuities and even service capital projects at a period when our country faced economic difficulties.
“Despite the unfortunate security challenges experienced in our state as a result of the activities of the insurgents which has drained substantial resources of the state to support the war, we made it a deliberate policy to pay salaries and pensions as the first line charge before any expenditure,” he said.
Earlier, the NUP President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said that Gaidam is the number one pensioner-friendly governor in Nigeria.
“For clearing all pension arrears which amounted to N6billion in Yobe State, you are the number one pensioner-friendly governor in Nigeria. We appreciate you and also solicit for more of your support,” Afolayan said.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Pensions, Alhaji Hassan Shekarau, praised NUP for its achievements and pledged the National Assembly’s commitment to ensuring that the Executive arm of government implements the 33 per cent pension increment.