Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALFON), on Thursday, in Asaba, said the backlog of salary arrears owed council workers and primary school teachers have been paid in full to the employees.
The arrears dating back to 2014 amounted to N12 billion, according to the chairman of ALGON in the state, Itiako Ikpokpo who is also the executive chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area.
Ikpokpo told newsmen that the arrears were cleared following the receipt of the third tranche of the Paris Club Refund recently.
He said local councils’ share of the Paris Club money was N7 billion, adding that the state government made up the balance by releasing N5 billion to the council to totally offset the arrears of salaries of council workers and primary school teachers.
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“The offset of the salary backlog is sequel to the receipt of N7 billion being the local government share of the third tranche of the Paris Club Loan (PCL) refund and the gracious augmentation with about N5 billion by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa from the coffers of Delta State Government,” Ikpokpo said.
According to Ikpokpo, the governor had in January, this year promised to intervene on the issue of local government workers’ salary arrears when revenue earnings of the state improve.
He said the timely release of the N5 billion was not politically motivated ahead of the 2019 general election, noting that Governor Okowa who is seeking a second term, acted based on appeals by the councils for bailout to enable them meet salary obligations.
“Delta ALGON therefore wishes to express its unreserved and eternal gratitude to the governor for seeing the local governments through its most turbulent and frightening period in their history. Governor Okowa’s action will undoubtedly heighten the morale and commitment of the local government workers with attendant boost in productivity,” he added.
Reacting to the development, chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr. Sunny Ogwu expressed excitement, saying primary school teachers in the state will no longer have excuse for non-performance.