The Ekiti State government yesterday received N3.9 billion from the Federal Government as the last tranche of its Paris Club refund.
As directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, N3.3 billion was also deducted and paid as outstanding 2016-2018 counterpart fund for Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) being owed by the state.
A statement in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, by Yinka Oyebode, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Kayode Fayemi, said the governor had directed that the N3.9 billion Paris Club refund be applied to pay one month of outstanding arrears to state and local government workers, teachers and pensioners, in line with his promise to Ekiti workers and people.
This will be done with an augmentation from internal savings, the statement said.
It added that the Paris Club refund was received, following President Buhari’s intervention in the matter, after Fayemi’s last week’s visit to the President.
Fayemi expressed appreciation to the President for the timely intervention, having assured workers in the state that his administration would explore all avenues to clear the five to eight months’ salary arrears owed workers by the immediate past administration, within a reasonable period.
Dr Fayemi, while addressing reporters during the monthly Meet Your Governor programme on television and radio last week, re-assured workers that he was yet to receive the Paris Club refund.
The governor added that he would make it public when the state received the payment.
The Ayodele Fayose administration had received N18.34 billion Paris Club refund in three tranches between December 2016 and December 2017, besides bailout funds, budget support funds and excess crude support, all totalling about N55 billion, but failed to utilise the money to pay workers and retirees.
The first tranche of the Paris Club refund totalling N8.87 billion was received in December 2016; the state also got N4.77 billion in July, last year, and another N4.7 billion in December, last year.
Fayemi assured the workers that his administration would not owe them salaries, adding that he would clear outstanding salaries for all categories of workers within one year.