President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday charged state governors to seek efficient ways to settle unpaid workers’ salaries in their states.
Many of the state governments have been hit by cash crunch and are owing huge workers’ salaries, among other indebtedness.
Inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari also asked government at all levels to be more prudent in the management of their resources.
He urged state governors to look inward in order to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to supplement income from the Federation Account.
He said: “Your Excellencies, it is evident that the task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity, is quite enormous. Consequently, we must kick-start this process by cultivating a culture of prudent management of resources at all levels of government.
“This will entail looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), and harnessing growth potentials of each state to supplement the Federation Account allocation to states.
“I therefore urge council members to consider, as a matter of urgency, exploring efficient means of gradually liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.”
The President also tasked the states to embark on projects that will meet immediate needs of the people within available resources.
Buhari harped on the need for neighboring states to cooperate closely on projects like interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes.
“I would like also, as a former governor myself to remind us the need for neighbouring states to cooperate closely on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes,” he stated.
The President said that efforts should be made to distance politics from developmental programmes.
“Our country is one and we who have the responsibility to run it should lead by example. As far as is possible there should be distance between politics and developmental programmes,” he added.
He promised that the Federal Government, on its part, will ensure more accountability, transparency and integrity in the distribution of the Federation Account as it will abide by the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution.
Buhari said: “All revenue generating agencies such as Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) amongst others shall comply with stipulated financial regulations and administrative instructions in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
On insurgency, he said the Nigerian Armed Forces have shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram.
“I am also happy to reiterate that following my invitation to Germany early this month by the G-7 Nations who have shown concern about the insurgency and promised to intervene to restore the destroyed infrastructure, schools and hospitals amongst others, I have directed the front line states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to articulate realistic assessments, costs, locations on local government by-local government of affected facilities for submission to the President of the G-7 for further verification.
“In addition, the requirements of the military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs for the consideration of the G-7 Nations.”