President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday urged state governors who are currently owing salaries to, as a matter of urgency, explore ways of liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff which, he said, have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.
He also encouraged them to restrict themselves to projects that will meet immediate needs of the people, taking account of available resources.
Buhari made the submission while inaugurating the National Economic Council led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The council which has the 36 state governors and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria as members is saddled with the responsibility of advising the President on economic affairs of the country.
The President said since the task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity, is enormous, leaders must kick-start the process by cultivating a culture of prudent management of resources at all levels of government.
This, he said, will entail looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue and harnessing growth potentials of each state to supplement the Federation Account allocation to states.
He said, “The states are also encouraged to embark on projects that will meet immediate needs of the people taking account of available resources.
“I therefore urge Council members to consider, as a matter of urgency, exploring efficient means of gradually liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.
“I would like also, as a former Governor myself, to remind us the need for neighbouring states to cooperate closely on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes.
“Our country is one and we who have the responsibility to run it must lead by example. As far as it is possible, there should be distance between politics and development programmes.”
Buhari said on its part, the Federal Government, under his leadership, would abide by the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution and ensure more accountability, transparency and integrity in the distribution of the Federation Account.
He promised that all revenue generating agencies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Nigeria Customs Services; Federal Inland Revenue Services; Nigeria Ports Authority; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Liquefied Natural Gas shall comply with stipulated financial regulations and administrative instructions in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
On insurgency, in parts of the country, the President said the Nigerian Armed Forces have shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram.
He added that Nigeria, under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Republic of Benin, is collaborating with the Republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin to consolidate cross-border and international efforts at eradicating the insurgency.