Abuja - Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau on Friday disclosed that the state government had recovered N2.7 billion through the implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the state.
Lalong made this known at the All Progressives Congress (APC) media roundtable in Abuja.
According to him, the money, which had hitherto been missing, was traced to some accounts in the state and have been recovered.
He said that the recovery had enabled him to pay workers in the state, who had been on strike for months, at a time. "Recently, we recovered about N2.7 billion in the state, money that was regarded as lost. We traced and recovered the money which was meant for teachers.
"Teachers, civil servants, the judiciary had gone on several months of strike; some nine, some 11 but now, since I came on board, we did our best. We now have arrears of salaries of only two months.
"For teachers, we paid all; they are back to work. The judiciary is also back to work. So, for the plateau, we are moving on well.
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"In the area of corruption, we are putting pressure on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hasten their investigations so that they can begin prosecution and we can also gain recovery of looted funds,’’ Lalong said.
He said that several other cases had also been sent to the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), "which will yield results soon’’.
He disclosed that like the Federal Government, there was pressure to stop prosecution of some cases, while some people with concrete evidence refused to come out to testify.
He, however, said that such antics did not and would not deter the government from pushing for the recovery of stolen funds in the state. The governor said that he was unsure why other governors were finding it difficult to implement the TSA, disclosing that the merits of the system outweighed its demerits.
"I am not an accountant but immediately I became aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of TSA, I gave the instruction that it should be implemented.
"I organised a committee immediately and today, TSA is being implemented.
"I don't know why some governors are finding it difficult to implement TSA in their states but out of the TSA implementation in our state, we have gained some dividends.
"We are now tracing some accounts that were not known to us before and we are seeing some excesses in those accounts, especially in some of the ministries.
"So, I will advise other states that have not yet implemented TSA to do so,’’ he said.
Lalong assured that in spite of the reduction in monthly allocation to the state, there would be no downsizing of workers in the state. "It will be very difficult to downsize on the plateau; I don't intend to and I will not. All I want to do is to maintain what I have and also improve on it.
"That's why our concentration is on improving on the revenue so that we can, if possible, employ additional workforce.
"Downsizing in this present administration is going to be very difficult; the president has advised state governments and even corporate organisations not to downsize,’’ he said.
The governor said that although he was yet to pay all outstanding salaries, he would do so as soon as the Federal Government paid the bailout he applied for in full.
"Before the issue of bailout, we had already started paying workers in the state.
"When the issue of bailout came, we applied for N10 billion which was supposed to be for the arrears of salaries for about eight to nine months and so far, we have only received N5 billion.
"Plateau was supposed to get N10 billion for salaries and for infrastructure but all we have got so far from the Central Bank of Nigeria is N5 billion.
"Even with that, we have been able to clear most of the arrears of salaries; we only have an outstanding of two months salaries not paid in our state.
"We have paid all the outstanding salaries for all our local governments. If I am able to get my balance of N5 billion, within a week, all the remaining salaries would have been cleared.’’