Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State, on Tuesday, declared that the state government’s treasury is too lean to accommodate the demands of the labour movement in the state, claiming that they could overwhelm its entire resources.
Speaking when he visited the dilapidated Banni Secondary School in Ilorin, the state capital, Abdulrazaq said “if we accede to the request of the labour movement, we will not be able to do any other thing, other than paying salaries of workers.
” Our schools have collapsed, the basic health facilities need to be fixed, and we need to do much more for the population,” the governor said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Rafiu Ajakaye in Ilorin, on Tuesday.
He said the ” Locals say students sit on bare stones in the classrooms, many of which have collapsed, or have had their roofs blown off.
“The situation in Banni Community Secondary School is typical of what exists in most parts of the state, and a state with such huge infrastructural deficits, cannot spend 100 percent of its earnings on paying salaries,” he declared.
He said ” We want to pay the minimum wage, where we disagree with the labour is the consequential adjustment that they are asking for.
” It will mean that we cannot do any other thing outside salary payment” the governor added.
Governor Abdulrazaq described the Banni Community Secondary School as totally dilapidated, lamenting that it was amazing that “students learn inside there,” adding, ” for safety reasons, some structures of the school are to be shut down.
“I am not happy with the situation of this school and many others.
“The laboratory is gone, so there is a need for proper investment in our schools,” he stated.
Commenting on the labour movement’s strike in the state, governor Abdulrazaq said, ” We can only pay on a scale that is affordable.
” You can imagine a situation where local governments’ are earning N2.6b a month and the salaries are almost exactly the same, when you add their other expenses.
” The labour unions want an increase of that to N3b, that is N400m per month increase, from where will the local governments get that?”
” The consequential increase should not be that much, that is not affordable, because we have schools, hospitals, road infrastructure, and we are not going to spend 100 percent of our income on paying salaries.”
Governor Abdulrazaq said the government “is always open to negotiations, but noted that ” There is a court injunction and as far as the government is concerned, there is no strike. Everybody should report to work. We will work on how to improve facilities in our state as much as we will pay salaries of our workers,” the governor declared.