Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State said, yesterday, that with 92,000 worforce and a monthly wage bill of N5.1 billion, the state’s ongoing verification exercise, which has entered the biometric stage, is necessary.Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State
The governor, who has come under pressure to abandon the exercise, disclosed this in an interaction with newsmen in Lagos, saying he had been under attacks from those benefiting from ghost workers’ syndrome in the state.
According to him, it is inconceivable for Bauchi to have such huge workforce when Kano State, with one of the largest population, has just 105,000 workers.
Governor Abubakar said: “Our monthly wage bill for state and local government workers is N5.1 billion. I can count the number of times the state’s allocation was more than N5 billion monthly.
“This is why we felt the need for verification.”
He said previous efforts at taking the head count of the state’s workers, including deploying Bank Verification Numbers, BVN, had been frustrated by those ripping off the government.
Abubakar, who was in Lagos to attend the ongoing Annual General Meeting of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, also disclosed that his government expended the state’s bailout fund of N8.6 billion on salaries, adding that it earned him accolades from Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
He explained also that the state had never owed state workers more than a month salary and local government staff more than two months.
Abubakar said further that the only loan of N4 billion he took in 2015 was to offset facilitation of pilgrims to Hajj, pay salaries and procure 10,000 tonnes of fertilisers, having met on assumption of office an empty treasury and a debt burden of N125 billion.
The governor, who noted that he refrained from taxing the people so as not to increase the burden imposed on them by the previous administration, said it, therefore, became difficult for him to shore up the state’s internally generated revenue, IGR.
He, however, said his government was exploring the possibility of wooing investors into the agriculture, solid minerals and tourism sectors of the economy to improve IGR.