Eleven days to the Osun State governorship election, the state government has commenced gradual disbursement of N19.8 billion as salaries and other entitlements to its workers and pensioners.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola authorised the release of the money for payment of four months salary of the workers as well as pensioners.
A statement signed the Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebamiji, on Tuesday said the governor had approved the release of nineteen billion, eight hundred and one million, three hundred and twenty-eight thousand, two hundred and seventy-one naira, twenty-two kobo for disbursement to the workers and pensioners.
The workers are being owed a backlog of salaries, with some cadre receiving only portions of their pay.
In the statement on Tuesday, the state government applauded the workers “for their perseverance and commitment to the state despite the lean finances of Osun.
“In line with its agenda and fulfillment of its promise to the tate workers regarding prioritisation of their welfare above others, the government of the State of Osun has commenced payment of full salary and arrears in line with available resources.
“This decision was taken at the meeting of the Fund Apportionment Committee led by Comrade Hassan Sumonu with labour and government representatives in attendance.
“In line with labour unions’ demands and current financial position of the state, government of the State of Osun led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has authorised payment of of four (4) months salary arrears and 2016 leave bonus to its workers.
“Also, Mr Governor has directed that going-forward, workers in the state should be paid their full salary as and when due to demonstrate his commitment to his earlier promises.
“With this, Government of the State of Osun has commenced gradual disbursement of Nineteen Billion, Eight Hundred and One Million, Three Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy-One Naira, Twenty-Two Kobo (19,801,328,271.22) as salaries and other entitlements to its workers”, the statement read.
However, workers in the state have reacted to the sudden disbursement, many saying it was geared towards the election.
“The state has the money. They were keeping it because of election. Well, we are glad to hear the news but that will not change the candidate we are voting for come September 22,” said Musibau Raji, a teacher in Gbongan.
The federal government was reported last week to have released N16.6 billion as Paris Club refund to Osun State, a development political opponents decried as a ploy to help the ruling All Progressives Congress prevail in the governorship election.