The Delta State chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) on Wednesday confirmed the receipt of N2.1 billion by the 25 councils in the state as their statutory share of the N10 billion Paris Club excess loan deduction refunded to the state. ALGON also said the 25 councils received a total of N3.8 billion as federal allocation for the month of June.
Mr Fidelis Akpotha, the Chief Press Secretary to the state ALGON chairman, Sir Itiako Ikpokpo, who spoke with this writer on behalf of his principal, said the June allocation was the highest since 2015. He said the loan refund and June allocation brought the total funds from federal coffers to the councils within the period to about N5.9 billion. Akpotha, however, said that the seeming huge receipts were grossly inadequate to meet the financial obligations of the local government councils. He said that after all deductions for primary school teachers’ salaries, loan servicing, pension, gratuities and state civil service commission allocation, only six councils were able to pay their staff salaries. He could not immediately identify the solvent councils, but pleaded for time to find out and get back. Akpotha explained, “The total monthly staff wage bill for the 25 local government councils is about N1.5 billion, and over N2 billion for primary school teachers’ salaries. “Each of the 25 councils owes their staff an average of eight months salary arrears, and another three months for primary school teachers.
“After all the deductions, only six councils were buoyant enough to pay their staff salaries for three months. “This prompted ALGON to appeal for assistance from the state government, which bailed them out with about N600 million.’’ With this, he said, each of the councils will be able to settle three months staff salary arrears and one month for primary school teachers. The ALGON chairman thanked Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for coming to the aid of the councils.
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