By Isaac Olamikan, Benin City
Edo State Government has said it has advanced local government areas in the state a loan to the tune of N850 million to clear salaries of council workers in the month of December in lieu of the release of Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations to the councils.
The state had settled salaries and pension of state workers since December 14 from its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). However, local governments in the state have been unable to pay December salaries and pension to workers and pensioners due to delay in the release of their FAAC allocation.
According to a statement on Wednesday by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, at an Executive Council (EXCO) approved the release of N850m to the councils to enable them clear their salary obligations for the month of December.
Recall that FAAC allocation is distributed between the Federal, State and Local Governments in the state after the monthly statutory FAAC meeting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
However, since the virtual FAAC meeting of December 18, where N675.9bn was shared among the three tiers of government, local governments in the state have been unable to access their funds thereby putting them in dire straits.
Realizing, however, that local government workers would be hard hit by the delay during the festive season, the Edo State Government decided to advance the 18 local councils in the state a bailout to enable them clear the salaries of their workers.