The Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in Delta State, Mr. Malik Itiako Ikpokpo, has dispelled the insinuations that the N5billion assistance given by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to offset the backlog salaries of local government workers and primary school teachers was politically motivated.
Mr. Ikpokpo stated this when he addressed the press in Asaba on the complete payment of salary backlogs of local government workers and primary school teachers in the state at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Information.
The Chairman stated that such rumours and insinuation were not good but would rather dampen the moral of the helper.
The ALGON Chairman, who lauded the state government for the release of N5billion to offset the backlog of salaries of primary school teachers and local government workers in the state, stated that the payment of the backlog salaries was made possible by the release of N5billion to add to the N7billion being the local government share of the Paris Club Loan refund to offset the backlog of salaries.
He said, “The release of the entire local government share of the Paris Club Loan refund and the monumental assistance from the Delta State Government underscores government commitment to the wellbeing of workers in the state.”
“His Excellency did promise in January 2018 that subject to improvement of the revenue earning of the state, the Delta State Government will assist in clearing salary arrears owed local government workers and primary school staff, some dating back to 2014. A promise though difficult in view of the huge financial consequences has been magnanimously kept by His Excellency.”
He stated that the singular act by Governor Okowa’s fatherly disposition, concern and kind heartedness to the plight of workers and Deltans in general had proven beyond doubt that the Governor’s words were his bond, a promise keeper and leader who placed prime consideration on the betterment of his people.
The ALGON Chairman disclosed that the local government workers and school teachers were owed between one month to eight and half months salaries stated that the recession of 2015 led to the backlog of salaries by LGAs and not mismanagement of resources by the LGAs as was insinuated in some quarters.
According to Ikpokpo, the recession experienced in the country led to the dwindling inflow to the local government councils in term of its revenue generation, saying that it was from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that the local government carry out environment sanitation, fuel generators and other running cost.
Mr. Ikpokpo noted that the local government in the country would only get it right when local governments get autonomy to run their affairs, even as he promised that ALGON would continue to fight for local government autonomy until it was realised.
He called on the press to always highlight areas of concern in the local government administration so as to put them on check.
In order to reciprocate the good gesture of Governor Okowa, Ikpokpo charged all local government workers and primary schools teachers to enhance their commitment to duty in the overall interest of the local government and Delta state at large.
Earlier, the Delta State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Hon Joyce Overah, said ALGON was grateful to Governor Okowa for coming to the aid of local government workers and school teachers to offset the backlog of salaries owned them.