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 FG owes 70,000 workers three- month salaries.

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eddyvic
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PostSubject: FG owes 70,000 workers three- month salaries.   Tue 30 Dec 2014, 9:29 am

No fewer than 70,000 civil servants
in 30 Ministries, Departments and
Agencies of the Federal
Government have yet to receive
their three months’ salaries.
The Secretary-General of the
Association of Senior Civil Servants
of Nigeria, Mr. Alade Lawal, made
this known just as investigations
by The PUNCH revealed that states
like Osun, Oyo, Benue and Plateau
are owing their workers between
three and four months’ salaries.
Prominent among the ministries
listed by Lawal during an interview
with one of our correspondents in
Abuja on Monday are Education,
Works, Labour and Productivity,
Mines and Power.
He said, “About eight MDAs have
been owing workers their salaries
from October. The number rose to
11 in November and in December,
hit 30, including departments and
agencies.”
Asked what was responsible for the
increase in the number of MDAs
indebted to their workers, Lawal
said some government officials
involved in salary payments were
engaged in a game of deceit.
He said, “They are telling us that
some of the MDAs are involved in
expenditure items different from
salaries. They said they were
spending on items not related to
salaries. But that is not supposed to
be the fault of the workers.
“There should be synergy in
government whereby they have to
work in tandem with the Budget
Office and Office of the Accountant-
General of the Federation. They
know what they are doing, they are
muddling up the whole exercise
and suffering workers
unnecessarily.”
He said the government had no
tangible reason for not paying the
workers, having promised to do so
before December 24.
“As of December 22, they promised
us that before Wednesday,
December 24, these payments
would be made. But as I am talking
to you now, affected workers have
not been paid.
“The Ministry of Works alone has
about 26,000 workers. If you add
them together, they can’t be less
than 70,000 workers that are
affected.
“We have been liaising with our
people. But you know, this is a
festive period and it has affected
some of the trade union actions we
intended taking. The promise that
they made last week which they
also told the press that they would
pay before Christmas, we thought
they were serious about it. But
latest developments indicate that
they are deceiving us.”
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala, had in a statement
by her Special Adviser on
Communication, Mr. Paul
Nwabuikwu, on December 22
promised that the salary arrears of
civil servants in MDAs would be
paid before Christmas.
The PUNCH gathered on Monday
that civil servants in states like
Osun, Oyo, Benue, Plateau and Abia
had a bleak Christmas as they are
being owed between two and four-
month salaries.
In Osun State for instance, the
Chairman of state chapter of the
Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Saka
Adesiyan, told one of our
correspondents in Osogbo that
workers were being owed October,
November and December salaries.
The Public Relations Officer of the
Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr. Boye
Abolarin, also confirmed that
secondary school teachers were
being owed October, November
and December salaries.
Abolarin said that workers were
subjected to hardship while
politicians were feeding fat
especially during the Yuletide.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola,
however, blamed the
development on the dwindling
monthly allocations to the state.
Aregbesola, in a statement made
available to our correspondent by
his media aide, Semiu Okanlawon,
said, “Either at the federal or at the
state level, where is it that
workers are being paid as and
when due?
“We thought this situation will not
last long. That was why we used
our strategic reserve to augment
salaries for one year. All our savings
were spent on augmentation of
salaries.”
In Oyo, the state NLC Chairman,
Basiru Alli, said that the
November and December salaries
of some workers were being
awaited.
He said, “I will not say that
government in the state is owing
us, it is actually delaying payment
of workers salaries. As of now, not
all workers have been paid
November salaries. Some are still
waiting for theirs. We do not know
when the December salary will
come.”
Asked what efforts the NLC was
making to ensure all the workers
got paid, Alli said that they were
told by the government that
dwindling allocations from the
Federal Government were
responsible.
“We hold consultations with the
government from time to time and
what we were told the last time
was that it was not a deliberate
attempt to delay the salaries but
due to dwindling allocations, the
state had to manage its resources.”
But the Special Adviser to Governor
Abiola Ajimobi on Media, Dr. Festus
Adedayo, said that all workers had
been paid November salaries.
He said, “The state government is
passionate about staff welfare. We
are handicapped by the dwindling
allocations from the Federal
Government. We have a wage bill
of N4.9bn but the allocation we
have this month was N2.9bn. Last
month, the state got N3.1bn from
the Federal Government. We are
working hard to ensure workers are
paid the December salaries.”
The situation in Benue State is not
better as the government is also
currently owing three months’
salaries.
Before the Yuletide, the
government owed workers five
months’ salaries but it paid two
months’ salaries at different
intervals.
A civil servant, who pleaded
anonymity told The PUNCH that a
day to Christmas, some of his
colleagues received alert for one
month salary while on Monday,
others received alert for their
second salary payment.
The civil servant explained that
they could not enjoy the Yuletide
due to the debts they had incurred.
He said, “What the state
government paid to us was used to
settle debts .
“Mind you, we from the mainstream
civil service are not on any
industrial action but the state is
currently owing us three month-
salaries. I can tell you that the
situation is worse for lecturers as
they have been on half salaries for
five months.”
Investigations by The PUNCH in Abia
State indicated that while civil
servants in the ministries had
received their November and
December salaries, their
counterparts in the parastatals
were being owed some months .
The Chairman, NLC in the state,
Sylvanus Eye, said workers in the
parastatals had not been paid
November and December salaries.
He added that teachers as well as
council workers were also being
owed arrears of two months.
The state leadership of NLC had
about three weeks ago picketed
the office of the Accountant
General over the salary arrears of
the parastatal workers and for
allegedly witholding check- off
dues of the union.
When contacted, the Accountant
General, Gabriel Onyendilefu, said
that “the function of payment is
dependent on available cash”.
He explained that in the past five
months, the state’s allocations from
the federation accounts had been
dwindling following the constant
fall in the price of crude oil.
In Kogi State, local governments’
workers complained that they only
received half of their salaries for
October and November.
They alleged that they still had
some backlogs of salaries that were
not fully paid.
A source, who pleaded anonymity,
said the Commissioner for Local
Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,
Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, had informed
them that they would receive alert
of their December payment on
Tuesday(today).
The NLC Chairman, Plateau State
chapter, Mr. Jibrin Bancir, told one
of our correspondents that the
government was owing many
workers four months arrears of
salaries and leave grants.
The worst hit are local government
workers who have not been paid
for about seven months.
Meanwhile, the NLC has directed its
state chapters to furnish it with
actual state of affairs in connection
with the salary arrears.
Noting that it was criminal for any
government to owe workers their
salaries, the NLC said it would take
a firm decision in a couple of days
on the issue.
The General Secretary of the
congress, Mr. Peter Ozo-Eson, stated
this in a telephone interview with
one of our correspondents in Ilorin
on Monday.
He said, “We have not taken a firm
decision on what to do until we get
actual information on which state,
what is owed, how many months
and the actual amount from all the
state councils. We hope that within
a couple of days, these reports
would have got to us and we would
take a firm position on them.
“We would rely on the reports that
we get from our state chapters. We
are asking our state to advise us on
salary payments and if there are
debts. Based on that we are going
to collate take appropriate actions
in relation to getting those salaries
paid.
“We condemn any state
government that is owing arrears
of salaries because the workers
must be the first to be paid before
they start spending on any other
issue.”
Ozo-Eson said it was worrisome
that even the Federal Government
was owing some categories of its
workers for about three months.
He lamented that some state
chapters of the NLC did not give the
national body a report on time that
their members were being owed.
He stated that payment of workers’
salaries should be made a priority.
The NLC secretary said, “For us, it is
criminal for any government not to
pay workers’ salaries, accumulate
them over months while the
governors and other political office
holders take their own salaries.
Such is criminal. We are also aware
that even the Federal Government
is owing some categories of civil
servants their salaries for over
three months.
“This is extremely unacceptable.
Whatever is the reason for that! In
the case of the Federal
Government, they try to explain it
in terms of problems with
migration to IPPIS system.We think
whatever is the logic, those salaries
and arrears need to be paid
immediately.
“On state governments that are
owing, unfortunately some of the
NLC chapters did not bring it to our
notice early enough for us to know
that salaries are owed. If you owe a
worker salary for a month, you have
no moral obligation to expect
workers to come and render any
service.
“So to hear that there are states
and large number of them that are
owing workers for two or three
months is completely
unacceptable.”
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