Akwa Ibom, Rivers top list
By Our Correspondent
Most of the 18 state governments whose workers commenced an indefinite strike last week over several months of unpaid salaries are among those that collected the highest allocations from the excess crude revenue distribution between 2011 and 2014.
The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Peter Ozo-Eson, said last Friday that the central labour movement had dispatched its special task force team to the various geo-political zones of the country ahead of the impending strike action.
The task force was constituted on March 19 at the end of the NLC’s national congress with a mandate to negotiate the immediate settlement of all salary arrears owed workers by some the 36 state governments. Most of the states owe workers’ salaries and other benefits for between three and nine months.
The NLC secretary, who said the strike has since commenced in Plateau State, said a similar action was ongoing simultaneously in Cross River and 16 other states. The states owing salaries are (in alphabetical order) Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Zamfara States.
The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said apart from approved statutory receipts from the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings, some of the debtor states were among the highest beneficiaries of the allocations from the excess crude revenue account savings between 2011 and 2014.
The Excess Crude Account holds billions of dollars raised by the Nigerian government as differential between budgeted oil price and actual market price. While the government claimed in the past the account was for the “rainy day”, it repeatedly shared much of its value between the federal and state governments. The money is different from the monthly oil receipts shared among the three tiers of government.
According to the finance minister, the Federal Government received an allocation of about N3.29 trillion for the corresponding period. Details of the allocations showed that Akwa Ibom, which is among the states owing its workers at least three months salaries, collected a total of N265.07 billion for the period.
The list also places Rivers State in the second position, with N230.41 billion allocation for the period; followed by Kano state in third position with N106.48 billion, and Ondo state in fourth position with N81.73 billion. Katsina State, which is the fifth highest receiver of the allocation, collected N76 billion, while Oyo state, in sixth position, collected N74.27 billion. Imo state, in seventh position, took home N71.9 billion; Bauchi, Benue and Jigawa States followed in that order with N69.53 billion, N67.24 billion and N66.53 billion allocations respectively.
The other states are Kogi (N61.99 billion; Ogun (N59.13 billion); Cross River (N56.78 billion); Plateau (N56.4 billion); Abia, (N56.12 billion); Zamfara (N53.86 billion) and Ekiti (N46.8 billion) allocations.