Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) has condemned the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, for saying Osun does not owe workers and pensioners.
Aregbesola made the comment on Wednesday in Osogbo at a symposium organised by the Osun Command of the Police Community Relations Committee.
He said he was aware of the insinuation being peddled by those he regarded as adversaries to incite the public against his administration.
“Let me make a resounding correction that despite the paucity of funds, it is only a section of workers on grade level 12 and above who receive painfully 50 percent of their gross salaries based on agreement between the government and the labour union.”
Reacting, DSM said the statement is unfortunate and aimed at denying workers and retirees arrears of their salaries and pensions owed over twenty four months.
The group said: “Nothing exemplifies this than the fact the governor was making the reported statement days after acknowledging the receipt of Paris Club refund to the tune of over N6.3 billion.
“We ask; if the government owes no worker or pensioner, why did not the government collect the Paris Club refund, which was released basically to offset salaries and pensions? It is either the governor is being economical with the truth or trying to divert the refund to other purposes.
“If the government does not owe workers and pensioners, why is the government paying arrears of salaries and pensions, albeit of July and August 2015. Moreover, it is condemnable that union leaders who should be fighting for full payment of salaries, pensions and allowances, is cozying up with government to administer the fraudulent half salary and half pension policy.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the reality on ground is that the government has been paying half salaries and half pensions for workers and retirees above Grade Level 7 since July 2015. This section of workers and retirees include teachers, majority of civil servants and about half of local government workers.
“Also, medical doctors and health workers, as well as staff (teaching and non-teaching) in the state-owned polytechnics and colleges of education were forced to collect half salaries, even when their leaders were not party to the rotten arrangement.
“It was few months’ ago that the government increased the salaries and pensions of those between Grade Levels 8 and 12 to three-quarters of their salaries and pensions, while those on Grade Levels 12 to 17 are left out.
“In fact, the increase was a kind of a scam, as the government was to pay full salaries and pensions after receiving a tranche of bailout from federal government. Rather, the government only paid three-quarter salaries and pensions to selected few workers.
“However, medical officers, health workers and tertiary institutions’ staff are still being paid the illegal half salaries and half pensions. Therefore, the government of Ogbeni Aregbesola owes majority of workers and retirees arrears of salaries and pensions for twenty four (24) months.
“This is aside thousands of retirees who are on contributory pension scheme, whose pension bonds and deductions have not been paid to their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) by the Aregbesola government several months after retirement. Furthermore, the government has not paid gratuity of a single retiree under the government pension scheme.
“It is left for Aregbesola government to explain to the world how a state that earned over N300 billion as allocations and incurred over N250 billion as debt within five years is still unable to pay salaries and pensions.
“We call for full probe of the Aregbesola government’s finances by democratic committee comprising representatives of workers, pensioners, communities, professional groups and the government”.