By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
The Kwara State House of Assembly has authorised the state government to access a term loan facility of N4bn to settle the payment of outstanding salaries and pensions of the 16 Local Government Councils in the state.
The legislature which reconvened from its recess, resolved to approve the loan facility, following a message from the State Governor, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed, read by the Speaker, Dr Ali Ahmad, seeking the approval of the legislature.
Reading the resolutions of the House, the Speaker said of the N4bn, N2.2bn would be required to pay full salary arrears of Local Government Staff, Pensioners and Primary School teachers and directed the State Joint Allocation (JAAC) to decide appropriately on how the remaining N1.8bn would be disbursed to pay the remaining outstanding arrears among the Local Government Staff, teachers and pensioners and report to the House.
Dr Ahmad said since Joint Allocation Account Committee (JAAC) was the only legally authorised body to disburse, it should furnish the House on how the fund would be disbursed to ensure that the loan was entirely used for the intended purposes.
The House Leader, Hon Hassan Oyeleke had while leading others in the debate, urged the legislators to approve the loan having harvested required information from relevant stakeholders.
Other members who spoke on the request said though the practice of obtaining loan to pay salary arrears was against financial regulation urged the House to approve it to improve the wellbeing of the affected workers, but enjoined the government to device means of paying the balance of the N7.7bn required to clear salary arrears without recourse to loan facility from the bank.
The Governor had in his message, dated March 26, 2018 said the loan facility became expedient in view of huge arrears of salaries and allowances to pay to the Local Government workers and pensioners occasioned by poor Federal Allocation receipts and Internally Generated Revenue to Local Government Councils in the state.