By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
Going forward, the 17 local government areas in Plateau State will manage their workforce wages individually to curb the trend of widespread industrial action that paralyzes activities across the state.
The State Chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, in a unanimous decision, said that the development will spur each local government to devise ways to improve internally generated revenue to meet emerging challenges.
Addressing journalists at the former Government House in Jos, ALGON State President and Mikang Local Government Area President Ezekiel Pabuet, flanked by his colleagues, said that citizens of the state must have the information and understand the the need for them to provide their support for the proper functioning of the respective councils.
He noted: “The wages of local government workers have not yet been paid since January 2021. This is not deliberate, it is the challenge we have because about 99.9% of local government revenue comes from the federal allocation. What is generated internally is insignificant.
“We just finished a stakeholder meeting and following the decentralization directive, all areas of local government must manage their salaries individually; independently. Whatever challenge you have, you will come up with a way to tackle it with the Union there.
“This is so that the citizens know it because the entrance, even with the collapse of the VAT, cannot compensate the wages. We will not go down the path of reversing the 18,000; It is up to each local government to figure out how to solve the challenge.
“The resolution was taken in a meeting and the majority have accepted it, each local government is working to improve the IGR; Ideas were brought up, each local government will sit down because we are not finding it easy. We are not getting ahead of the workers, but we believe that everyone will play a role in meeting this challenge. “
The state chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Yohanna Arandong, who participated in the meeting, said her union insists on centralizing wages to avoid a situation where some members will be paid while others no, because the local government where they work claim they have no money.
His words: “I was in the meeting, we are not in conjunction with that, but at the same time, we cannot stop them, I have called an emergency meeting of the SEC, which is the highest decision-making body of the Union, it is composed of From State Officials and Branch Presidents, I will tell you the outcome of the meeting.
“If they complain about lack of money we suggest they leave salary at the state level as they insist, if the staff rises up against them, I will not know what to say until it happens, we have warned them of the imminent danger.
“The story goes that when wages were managed by the respective local government, it was causing problems because when local government A paid and B did not pay, it brought uprisings and protests, but when wages were managed centrally if A did not pay, B did not pay them either. will pay, everyone will be patient.
“Now that they have said so, all we will do is order the branch officers to make sure their salaries are paid. We have asked them to pay us the arrears but they complained that there is no money to pay the three months, we asked them to pay us two months, again they say that they will not be able to pay the two months so the meeting ended in a stalemate. “