President Muhammadu Buhari has called on state governors to ensure the use of at least 25 per cent of the refunds they received as excess deductions for external debt service to pay outstanding salaries of workers.
The President stated this in a statement he issued through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, saying that he has approved the sum of N552.74billion to be paid in batches to all the states that are owed.
According to the statement, the states are expected to receive 25 per cent of their approved sums in the first instance before the week runs out.
“When he assumed office last year, the President declared an emergency on unpaid salaries, following the discovery that 27 out of the 36 states had fallen behind in the payments to their workers, in some cases for up to a year.
“Following this, a bailout loan was issued to the states twice, with a first batch of about N300bn given to them in 2015 in the form of soft loans.
“The administration also got the Debt Management Office to restructure their commercial loans of over N660bn and extended the life span of the loans.
“Because this did not succeed in pulling many of the states out of distress, the Federal government this year gave out a further N90bn to 22 states as yet another bailout loans under very stringent conditions.
“President Buhari is of the opinion that the payment of salaries and pensions must be given priority to save both serving and retired workers and their families from distress,” part of the statement reads.
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