President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday directed governors of the 36 states of the federation to ensure that salaries and entitlements of workers are paid before Christmas.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, who disclosed this to State House correspondents after a close-door meeting the governors had with the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said the President is worried about the plight of workers who depend on their salaries to feed their families, pay school fees and house rents.
He said the President directed the governors to esure that they keep workers and pensioners happy by paying their salaries from the 50 per cent Paris Club refunds.
“It was a brief meeting between the governors of Nigeria and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The discussion centred on basically the end of year and President himself has expressed the need to make sure that every Nigerian especially the workers have a beautiful Christmas.
“The issue of outstanding Paris Club was discussed and that was taken care off to make sure that workers in various states, everywhere in the country get to celebrate the Christmas.
“We also use the opportunity to review our working relationship with the President and we found out that we are in harmony there is no different between us and the President, everybody seems to be very happy, we are working together.
“We particularly commended Mr President for getting Nigeria out of recession,” he said.
He said governors at the meeting commended lthe President for approving the payment of the remaining balance of 50 per cent of the Paris Club refund to the states.
“We are looking at getting the balance of Paris Club refund thrashed out once and for all. We also made a request for Mr President’s approval that the balance should form part of our 2018 budget, because we can’t include it until we are sure that the money is coming. That was also sorted out,” he said.
Also speaking, Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna state said the President has ordered that the balance of the first 50 per cent be paid to state governments to meet their obligations before Christmas.
“The Paris club figures need to be reconciled. While the reconciliation process was going on, the president approved that 50 per cent of the original amount be paid to the states. The payment started from last year. We still have the balance of the first 50 per cent.
“This is what the president said should be paid to state governments to meet their obligations before Christmas because he’s concerned that many families depend solely on their salaries to pay for rent, for the festive period. That had been decided. The balance of the first 50 per cent is what we are expecting now before Christmas. The President has approved that and said it must be paid,” he said.