Succor came the way of teachers and local government employees in Edo State as Governor Godwin Obaseki doled out soft loan to local councils in the state to pay June salaries.
The intervention of Governor Obaseki was due to the non-release of funds to state and local governments following the indefinite suspension of the Federal Account and Allocation Committee meeting.
It was gathered that seven local government councils paid workers June salary without waiting for allocation from the federation account while the remaining 11 councils were assisted by Governor Obaseki.
Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr. Jimoh Ijegbai, who confirmed the development said the introduction of e-ticketing made it possible for seven local governments to pay June salaries.
Barr. Ijegbai said plans were on to fish out ghost workers in local government because of reports that many local government staff were based in abroad and still collecting salaries.
Ijegbai stated that the staff verification would be carried out in all the 18 local government councils.
He said local councils in Edo were already having financial autonomy because their allocations are not tampered with.
His words, “The 18 local government councils are doing well. For two months now, there is this hiccup from Abuja that is delaying release of funds from the federation account but seven local councils were able to pay salaries without waiting for allocation to be shared.
“On Monday, Obaseki gave us soft loan to be able to pay primary school teachers before the allocation will be shared. He also paid out the remaining 11 councils salaries that didn’t have any savings to pay. All local councils have paid their salaries now.”
“We are fishing out ghost workers by first making sure that we migrated the payment of salaries to technology platform and stopped payment by hand. Inspite of that, we still get pockets of complaints of some workers that have travelled abroad and yet they are on the payroll.
“We will not give specific date but very soon we will go round the 18 local government to ensure we fish out those that are not on ground and get them out of the system.
“We have financial autonomy for local government in Edo State because there is a template that follows the monthly allocation from Abuja. In Edo, nobody tampers with the local government fund. The issue is that they should be allowed administrative autonomy in terms of allowing them to do whatever they want to do without supervision”.