The Debt Management Office has said it is right for states to use bailout funds to pay workers’ salaries.
Many states owed a backlog of unpaid salaries by May 29 when Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as President. The states later turned to the Federal Government for rescue, a development that made the President to assist the states with a bailout of N713.7bn.
The Director-General of the DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, who spoke with our correspondent at an enlightenment workshop for civil society organisations in Enugu, described workers as the most important factor in economic development. He added that workers should therefore be well taken care of for the economy to grow.
He also dismissed insinuations that the funds would be used for recurrent expenditure and may not stimulate production.
Nwankwo said, “Who will do the production if the worker is not doing his work because he has not been paid?
“If the worker is not doing his work, who will develop the economy? Who develops the economy? The economy is developed by the worker — the economy cannot develop itself.
“It is the Nigerian worker that develops the economy and has been developing the economy. So, he deserves his pay regularly and promptly.
He also expressed confidence that the state governments would make judicious use of the funds.
Nwankwo stated, ‘‘Nigerian governments, whether federal or state, are responsible. I am not aware that anything is going wrong in the bailout package that the President has graciously approved.”
The DMO boss further stressed the need to urgently diversify the economy in order to address the country’s dependence on crude oil.
According to him, the country should also focus on agriculture, solid minerals and petrochemicals.