The Nasarawa State Government has said that the N1.3bn received from the Federal Government as a loan is meant for capital projects and not for the payment of workers’ salaries.
It would be recalled that last week Friday, the Federal Government released the sum of N50bn to the 35 states of the federation, excluding the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, out of which each state got N1.3bn.
The state Accountant General, Mr. Mohammed Musa Dar’dau, in an interview with The PUNCH in his office in Lafia on Wednesday, confirmed that the state had received its share (of the N1.3bn). He however said that the state government had not in any way violated the Minimum Wage Act.
According to him, the N1.3bn is not meant for the augmentation or payment of salaries of workers in the state. He said the first table of the N18, 000 minimum wage was wrongly implemented and the state government could not meet up because of the dwindling in the economy of the state.
He said, “The matter is, as the name implies; it is to support budget implementation. This loan is specifically designed for capital expenditures. So, I believed that the state government is doing its best, trying to analyse and come up with a plan on how this money is going to be spent. That is the situation for now.
“The N1.3bn is meant for capital expenditures which comprises of any activity that is capital in nature in the state. It is not always ideal financially for a state government or any organisation, particularly government, to access a loan of this magnitude and start recurrent expenditures.”
“It is not the best practice for a state government to borrow and start settling the recurrent expenditures, like the travels of the governor, my DTA and purchases of stationeries or probably payment of salaries or allowances.”
On why the three Tertiary institutions in the state including the Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, the College of Education and the College of Agriculture, and health workers were not affected by the 50 per cent salary deduction by the state government, he said, “Initially when the table came out, they were affected. But when we realised that they were not supposed to be affected because the only organ or sections of the people that were supposed to be affected were those that had been enjoying the N18,000 minimum wage.”
He said that the three tertiary institutions and the health workers, who were not beneficiaries of the N18,000 minimum wage, were refunded back their money, adding that everybody had already collected his or her own balance.