The Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, Wednesday disclosed that the wage bill of workers in the state increased by N1 billion shortly after the governorship election of March 9, 2019.
Makinde, who made the disclosure during an interactive session with workers in the employ of the state government, said the development increased the wage bill to about N5.2 billion from March 10.
A statement from the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, also confirmed that Makinde increased the car loan to civil servants from N500,000 to N750,000 and the housing loan from N2 million to N3 million in order to assist the civil servants in the state.
The Head of Service, Mrs. Amidat Agboola, in her speech at the session, disclosed that the governor had approved a monthly grant of N20 million for car loan for the state workers; N15 million as car loan for Teaching Service Commission staffers and N20 million for housing loan to ensure that more civil servants benefited from the schemes.
According to Adisa: “Between March 10 when we were declared the winner of the election and May 29 when we eventually got into office, the salary bill of Oyo State increased by N1billion but we paid it and some questions are being asked. We promised oneness and, for us, that is the path we are going to continue to tread on.”
The governor further declared that his administration would embark on a verification of workers in the state to ensure that the payroll is not suspicious, adding that the state government would “remain committed to the welfare of workers in the state because as a son of former civil servants, he was fully aware that workers need the support and assistance of the state government to do good things.”
He also enjoined workers to ensure that the verification would be completed within the shortest period of time. “The not-so-good news, which will be good in the end, is that, we have to carry out a verification exercise. This is not to witch-hunt anybody but to convince ourselves that we don’t have fraud in our payroll system. If we are able to save money through that exercise, we can also utilise it to take care of the welfare of the workers and use the rest for the generality of the people of Oyo State.
“So, I want to solicit for your cooperation, involvement and support to carry this out within the shortest period of time. This exercise will free us some money that can make us do some of the things you are asking for; by training, both local and foreign. So, I am assuming I will have your support concerning the issue of the payroll.
“The federal allocation is a little short of N5billion naira but the salary is N5.1 to N5.2billion naira for the state workers in Oyo State. For the local government teachers and others, it is about N3billion naira. On a monthly basis, we have to look for N8billion naira to make payment for the salaries.
“The good news is, one, the Federal Allocation into the local government is around N5 billion as well and they are paying N3billion for the teachers, workers, traditional rulers and it all comes to about N3.2 billion or thereabout. So, the good news is that the local government, at this point, is able to cover their wage bill.
“Also, the good news since we came in is that we have not embarked on any serious capital project at the local level because there are still things to sort out at that level of governance. With the extra N2 billion we get on a monthly basis, we must have accumulated N8billion naira sitting in the local government account.
“The internally generated revenue (IGR) is about N2 billion. We do take from the IGR to augment salaries. Of course, we have to do things for the generality of the people of Oyo State. We have to carry all the capital projects. We also have to do things that will expand our economy to make our IGR go on,” he said.
He also urged the civil servants to move in the same direction with his government because “if we all can work together we can really make giant progress. The political office holders cannot do it alone. If we have your support, we can together to achieve the desired result.”
He also warned those seeking to divide the people of the state along religious lines to desist from the bid. “Governance for us is beyond politics or religion. Nobody under my watch will be discriminated against because of political leaning or religion. So, those who want to divide us with political or religion sentiment should find another work to do.”