The Accountant-General of Nasarawa State, Mr Zakka Yakubu, has described as “fake”, news quoting him as calling for a downward review of workers’ salaries.
“I have never called for a reduction in workers’ salaries. We were invited by the House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation where I called for cuts in the cost of governance. That call had nothing to do with workers’ salaries.
“The fake news quoted me out of context. I am conversant with labour laws and the gains of maintaining a healthy relationship with labour. There is no way I could have suggested a cut in salaries.
“I am also a civil servant and a financial expert. I cannot advocate for reduction in workers’ salaries,” Yakubu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday in Lafia.
He explained that he called for a cut in the cost of governance because of the scarcity of resources available to the state.
“In view of current economic realities, it has become difficult for the state government to meet its obligations of prompt payment of salaries and pension.
“It has also been difficult to pay the backlog of gratuity to retirees, provide infrastructure and meet other obligations. The way to go is to overhaul the system so as to block leakages.
“We must also ensure proper placement of workers based on their qualifications. A security man working in a health facility without any medical certificate should not be enjoying a medical salary structure higher than a graduate in other sectors,” he said.
Yakubu said that government must also explore other means of boosting Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Current revenue rates were inherited from Plateau. The structure is not in tandem with current economic realities.
“For instance, market receipts are produced at the cost of N100 and issued for N20. This does not make economic sense. It is better that the receipts are not printed at all,” Yakubu added.
Meanwhile, organised labour in the state has advised workers to disregard the alleged call for the reduction in salaries.
Yasuf Iya, Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), told NAN that workers had been advised to ignore the report attributed to the accountant-general.
He explained that the leadership of the union had met with the official and had confirmed that he was quoted out of context.