From Alfred Babs, Ilorin
The Kwara State Executive Council has approved the auditing of the state and local government workers to weed out ghost workers, cut the monthly wage bill, and free up resources for infrastructural development.
The state Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Hajia Aisha Ahman-Pategi said at a news briefing that the comprehensive audit is to gulp N547m covering all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as the entire 16 local government areas, and would last a period of 24 weeks.
Ahman-Pategi said the cabinet approved the auditing after listening to a presentation by the Head of Service, Mrs Susan Oluwole on the urgency and proprietary of the exercise to cleanse the state’s payroll, save cost, and boost the state’s capacity to pay the minimum wage.
“The Kwara State Executive Council at its meeting approved the provision of employees’ biometric, clock-in, staff audit, and human resource solution for the state government (and local government) at the contractual sum of N547,627,230,” she said.
“The audit is to be done by a Consulting firm that has antecedents of similar auditing in other states of the country.
It would be recalled that the State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said that he is hesitant to sign the N30,000 minimum wage for workers in the state because he is not convinced that the local government councils can afford the table that the negotiation panel has proposed.
He said that the revenue coming to the 16 local government is not sufficient to pay the monthly wage bill of the workers.
But the Labour leaders in the state at the meeting told the government to embark on auditing of the local government workers, adding, “the local councils would be able to pay if proper staff auditing is done and the unions are involved in the exercise.”
Answering questions on the state government planned to mitigate the effect of plunging price of crude oil in the international market, Ahman-Pategi said the council resolved to boost revenue generation through agriculture, mining and other non-oil sectors.
“That issue came up at the council especially given the fact that the 2020 budget was benchmarked on $57 per barrel of oil. Today, the price of crude oil is around $30 and it is still going down. It is a global tsunami and we believe that for us in Kwara, Nigeria and Africa, this is a big opportunity for us to look inward at the non-oil sectors, particularly mining and agriculture, to generate more money to serve the public,” she said.