•Leaves for D8 summit in Turkey
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concerns on the growing complaints and agitations by workers in states over unpaid salaries and allowances despite interventions by the Federal Government.
According to a statement released by his Spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari expressed this concern while receiving a group of governors led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdul’Aziz Abubakar Yari, at the State House yesterday.
Buhari said the plight of workers in the states needed urgent attention as many could barely survive.
“How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months.
“I actually wonder how the workers feed their families, pay their rents and even pay school fees for their children,’’ he said.
The President told the governors that two out of the three-pronged focus of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to secure the country and fight corruption had received some commendable reviews by the people, noting that the challenge in payment of salaries in states had taken a toll on them.
“God has been merciful in hearing the prayers of his servants so the rainy season has been good, you can ask the Kebbi State governor on this, and our enormous food importation bill has gone down.’’
Buhari said the Federal Government and state executives would need to work closer together to ameliorate the situation of workers across the country.
The President said he had instructed all government agencies to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in order to ensure more transparency and prudence in accounting for the revenues of the government and the sharing of entitlements with states.
In his remark, the Chairman of the NGF said the various interventions by the Federal Government, which include the bailouts, were judiciously utilized by the states, stressing that the governors inherited backlog of unpaid salaries and huge debts portfolios on assumption of office.
“We are concerned with the situation in our states, and we are trying our best to manage the resources,’’ he said.
Yari noted that the bailout funds, and part of the fallout from the London-Paris Club that had been received by the states, were properly expended to alleviate the plight of workers, but more had to be done.
The NGF chairman commended the efforts of the President in improving the economy, assuring that the states would continue working with the Federal Government to improve the livelihood of workers and all Nigerians.
Governors of Ondo, Bauchi, Kebbi, Kwara, Akwa Ibom and the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State were part of the visit to the President.
Meanwhile, president Buhari will today depart for Istanbul, Turkey to participate in the ninth Summit of the Developing 8 (D-8) on Friday, October 20, 2017.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his Special Adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari will participate in an official working visits to Ankara, the state capital at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
In Ankara, the President will have a tete-a-tete with his Turkish counterpart while delegations from both countries will hold discussions in various fields including defence cooperation, security, educational and migration issues.
The Nigerian leader will also visit the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara where he will meet with the Speaker, Ismail Kahraman.
While in Istanbul, the Turkish commercial centre, Buhari will use the occasion of the D-8 Summit to bolster warm and growing ties across a broad range of areas of cooperation with leaders of the D8-member countries, namely Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
The Summit with the theme, ‘‘Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation’’, will among other things, focus on cooperation in the areas of agriculture, trade, transport, energy and increased private sector participation among member-countries.
During the ninth Summit of the D-8, which will also mark the 20th anniversary of the organisation established to improve the developing countries’ positions in the world economy, the President will highlight the significant show of confidence in Nigeria’s business environment and economy.
He will also affirm Nigeria’s resolve to work with D-8 member-countries on many key areas, including peace and security, economy and trade.
At the end of the Summit, the Heads of State and Government will adopt a Communiqué, also known as the ‘Istanbul Declaration’.
The President will be accompanied on the trip by ministers, top government officials, including the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali.