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Be sensitive to our concerns - Civil servants urge President Tinubu

Grace Ezekiel, a civil servant, said she has been in great pain as she has not been able to pay her children’s school fees and other unavoidable bills.

President Bola Tinubu [Twitter:@Imranmuhdz]

The workers, through their umbrella bodies, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

The workers, while speaking on the delay in the payment of their salaries, wage awards and other emoluments, urged the Federal Government to show more concern for the workers’ welfare.

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) specifically expressed discontent over the delays in the payment of monthly salaries to civil servants.

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Tommy-Etim Okon, President of ASCSN, said that the government should be prompt in the payment of salaries and emoluments of workers.

He claimed that since President Tinubu assumed office, the payments of monthly salaries and emoluments of workers had not been done on time, a situation, he said, was affecting productivity and well-being.

According to him, the government should be sensitive to the plights of the workers considering the economic hardship in the country.

“Every day the cost of living is skyrocketing, how will workers pay for their transportation to the office? How will the economy and other industries survive, if there is no exchange of money?

“Today is the 7th of February, but some workers are yet to receive their salaries,” he said.

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Okon added that even the monthly wage award promised to federal government workers to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal was not paid as when due.

“When we brokered and arrived at an N35,000 wage award, the government promised to pay for six months before the implementation of the new national minimum wage.

“But as I speak, the government has paid for September and October last year; this means that November, December, 2023 and January 2024 are still outstanding.”

Okon called on President Tinubu to be sensitive to workers’ plights and the masses in general, by expediting action on economic policies beneficial to their well-being

Similarly, Olorunsuyi Ademola, the Branch Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Mathematical Centre, said the government should show concern to workers regarding the high cost of living in the country.

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Ademola said the present administration should be sensitive to the plight of workers considering the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy and the high exchange rate of naira to dollar, among others.

“The economic policies, though desirable, have negatively impacted the standard of living of Nigerian workers.

“It is unimaginable that with the sufferings brought about by these policies, the salary and emoluments of Nigerian workers are being delayed beyond expectations,” he said

Ademola said that the 25 per cent salary increase approved by the government for the university sector that was supposed to take effect from January 2023 was yet to be implemented.

He added that the withheld salary of the university workers that the government promised to release was also yet to be paid.

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Also, Eric Haruna expressed disappointment over the activities of the present administration in the area of prompt response to salary payment since its inception, adding that the delay had negative effects on workers’ productivity.

“You will agree with me that there has been an irregular payment of workers’ salaries in recent times.

“The delay in payment has posed difficult situations to not only workers alone but other Nigerians, market women/men in particular, who make reasonable sales whenever workers receive their salaries,” he said.

According to him, the civil servants are the engine room of any government and anything that goes wrong in the system will have spiral adverse effects on the administration.

“Since this government came on board, it has never paid a salary as and when due.

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“It will always cross to the following month before payments are made and this is affecting the entire system negatively,” he said.

Grace Ezekiel, another civil servant, said she has been in great pain as she has not been able to pay her children’s school fees and other unavoidable bills.

She said the present administration has not been fair to workers’ plight, considering the delay in payment of salaries and wage awards to workers.

“You can see the continued rise in the prices of goods and services in the market. Inflation is high, coming to work has not been so easy for workers,” she said.

Another civil servant, Ibrahim Alli, who spoke specifically about the February salary

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said, the situation is no longer acceptable for the government to keep delaying salaries without explanation.

“We are aware that the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) shared N1.1 trillion amongst the three tiers of government, so why the delay?’’ he queried.

Also, Hauwa Sule condemned the idea of delaying the monthly salaries of some government workers while others will be paid.

Responding to the accusation, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) said that many Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government have received their salaries.

Bawa Mokwa, the Director of Press, OAGF, said the delay in payment of salaries of some MDAs is due to discrepancies in their 2024 budgets.

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Mokwa gave the assurance that most of the discrepancies had been reconciled and the outstanding salaries should start dropping.

NAN reports that the FAAC shared ₦1.13 trillion among the three tiers of government as revenue generated in December 2023.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its January meeting, the Committee said the total figure shared represented an increase of ₦40 billion or 3.67 per cent compared to the ₦1.09 trillion shared for November 2023.

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