Plateau government denies owing workers six months’ salaries
• Flays BudgIT Report, Demands Retraction
The Plateau State Government has described as “misleading and untrue,” a report by BudgIT entitled “2022 Nigerian Sub-National Salary Survey as at July 31, 2022,” wherein it categorised Plateau State under the “red colour” of its mapping with an interpretation as one of the states owing salaries of between “six months and above”.
A statement issued, yesterday, by the Governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, read: “The survey, which BudgIT claims is the result of its field research is not only very misleading and surprising, but also a source of embarrassment to the government.
“While the government awaits immediate retraction of the publication and an apology from the organisation, we wish to put the records straight on the issue of salary payments in Plateau State under the leadership of Governor Simon Bako Lalong.
“Plateau workers have never had it this good on the issue of salaries in a long time, than under the Rescue Administration of Simon Bako Lalong, who inherited eight months unpaid salaries, pensions and other outstanding allowances due to workers and pensioners.”
The statement said Lalong cleared the backlog and further directed that salaries and pensions should always be paid before 25th of every month, which was implemented faithfully.
“Because of his consistency in fulfilling this responsibility to the workforce and pensioners, he was nicknamed “Governor Alert” while the Joint Labour Unions of Plateau State Tertiary Institutions honoured him with an award for consistent payment of salaries and improving the welfare of workers.
“This prompt payment of salaries continued until sometime this year, when the Federal Allocations accruing to all states ran into problems, as a result of the non-remittance of funds by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which made it difficult for them to meet their obligations including salaries.
“Despite this general challenge, which is not peculiar to Plateau State alone, workers have received their salaries up till May 2022, while pensions have been paid up to July 2022.
“The government, therefore, wonders where BudgIT got its erroneous facts from to the extent of publishing it thereby misleading the public.
“While the government is not happy of owing workers salaries for June and July (two months), as a against the “six months and above” quoted by the organisation, it wishes to assure its workers that it will continue doing its best to clear the outstanding, as soon as possible in tandem with the governor’s promise not to leave any salaries unpaid during his administration,” the statement added.
However, the government wishes to caution BudgIT to always crosscheck its facts and conduct “thorough research” so as to avoid misleading the public, embarrassing the Government, and bringing itself into disrepute.
“For now, the government assumes that this is an innocent and legitimate error, which will be corrected immediately, and not a political manipulation aimed at disparaging the Rescue Administration of Governor Simon Bako Lalong, as well as the good people and hardworking staff of the state.”