By; Odeyemi Samuel, Akure.
The Ondo State Government has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to join the forces calling for the restructuring of Nigeria in a bid to resolve the economic impasse in the country.
The Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, while responding to a letter by the NLC to the Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, over unpaid salaries of workers, said the union should be aware that the structure of the federation had made it impossible for the states to thrive in the current economic situation.
According to Mr. Akinmade, Ondo state received a net allocation of N720 million in the face of a N3.95billion wage bill.
He argued that the available funds are not even enough to pay workers.
“If the resources are there, it will be criminal if we refuse to pay salaries, but the funds are not there,” Mr. Akinmade stated.
“The NLC should join forces with the call for the restructuring of the federation.
“The federal government has no land, yet it is controlling 54.8 per cent of the revenues accruing to the federation, leaving states and local government to share the balance of 45 per cent. So what can save us from this country is restructuring.”
On NLC’s call for a check on political appointments and patronage, Mr. Akinmade said the total salary of political office holders is N50 million out of the N3.95 billion wage bill.
“The easiest way out is to downsize, but the governor has promised that no worker would lose his/ her job on account of the present problem,” he said.
“This is because we believe that it is government’s primary responsibility that citizens are gainfully employed.”
He also said sacking workers would bring untold hardship to the people and their families.
Mr. Akinmade noted that the way out was not for workers to embark on strike, but to join government to find the way out of the problem.
“You cannot pay what you don’t have. The state is not only for civil servants. Out of the total population of 3 million, only 68, 000 are civil servants,” he added.