Information available to 247ureports.com obtained through competent sources knowledgeable of the activities within the Bauchi State Government indicates that all is not well with the financial standing of the State. So much, it has resulted in the inability of the Yuguda administration to carry its civil servants wage bill.
Presently, the Bauchi State government is reported to owe a little over N10billion in civil servants gratuity. The Yuguda administration stopped payment of gratuity in July 2011.
Available information indicates the financial problems with the Yuguda administration are not new. The administration had been plagued with financial maladies that showed the Governor’s men withdrawing over N800million in over the counter cash in one day – from one of the state government bank’s accounts in Diamond Bank. In what appears exhibition of financial rascality, the Yuduga administration wallowed the sum of N1.45billion in the supposed renovation of the Sa’adu Zungur Model Primary School located inside Bauchi metropolis – of which informed residents indicate the school was renovated for an amount considerably less than N100million.
But the financial recklessness of the Bauchi State government did not begin to show signs of cracking until February 2014 when the financial integrity of the state treasury could no longer service the salaries of the civil servants employed by the state. Starting from the month of February 2014, the state government defaulted and was unable to pay its workers their salaries for February 2014.
The Yuguda administration could not pay its February wage bill until the end of March 2014. The administration could not recover from its financial instability enough to remit the March 2014 salary in March 2014 – it took another month [end of April 2014] before it could remit March 2014 salaries. It paid April’s salaries at the end of May 2014 – the May 2014 salaries at the end of June 2014. As at July 22, 2014, the Yuguda administration has yet to remit civil servant salaries for June 2014. Presently the Bauchi State government owes its workers two months of salary.
Amidst the financial turmoil, the Bauchi State Governor is reported to have earmarked the sum of N75million for the break of fast – to mark the end of the Muslim fasting period.
In talking with the Bauchi State government, they confirmed that the Bauchi State government had been unable to pay its workers’ salaries ‘on time’ since the month of February 2014. The Government also confirmed owing its workers two months salaries [for June and July 2014]. The Chief Press Secretary [CPS], Shola Michaels, who spoke for the State Governor also added that Bauchi State had faced tough financial challenges in recent times that resulted in the inability of the State government to carry its wage bill. In his words, “ninety percent of Bauchi State allocation from federal government goes to paying salaries. We have over 30,000 workforce and our Doctors and Teachers are on a different salary scale. We pay our doctors and teachers more than the rest of the nation. We are trying our best”.
The CPS continued to add that the federal government added to the financial troubles of the State. He stated that the federal government under the leadership of President Jonathan had made promises to the Bauchi State government – that it would repay the cost of erecting a hospital. The hospital cost the Bauchi state government N7.9billion to build. The CPS also blamed the repayment of faulty loans undertaken by the previous administration towards the development of the Yankari Project. According to the CPS, the previous administration undertook a loan of N15billion. “We had to repay the loan”.
An elder statesman who spoke to 247ureports.com in confidence indicated that the reason for the cash-crunch stems from the carelessness of the managers of the Yuguda administration. He added that the matter is worsened by the fear to speak up by many in Bauchi State. He pointed to the Emirs, Chiefs and elders as having been ‘settled’ by the governor or are too afraid to speak up for fear of retributive attack by the governor. The fear was confirmed by a former aide to the governor. He stated that many within the intelligentsia who would have spoken are afraid of the Governor branding them a Boko Haram suspect. In his words, “if they attempt, they may be tagged as Boko Haram. That’s Yuguda’s latest style of settling scores”.