In these hard times, states in Nigeria owe their workers, some up to three years salary, a survey by BudgIT has shown.
BudgIT is a Nigerian civic organisation that applies technology for citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change
In a statement by its spokesperson, Iyanu Fatoba, the organisation said: “While the findings from the survey favoured states that are not in arrears, states like Abia, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Ondo and Taraba owe three (3) years or less in payments.
“For example, Abia state currently owes its state tertiary institution workers Six (6) months’ salary, while Ebonyi has not paid its pensioners in the last six (6) months. Secretariat workers in Taraba complained of irregular salary payments for up to six (6) months, while lecturers at state tertiary institutions and midwives in the state-owned hospital in Ondo State have not been paid a dime in the last four (4) months.
According to Mr Joseph Anthony (Pseudonym), a secondary school health institution worker in Abia, the Abia state government has not paid salaries in the last ten (10) months. The payment made to him in 2021 was his basic salary, which did not include other allowances.
“While speaking about the current realities of affected workers, Iniobong Usen, BudgIT’s Head of Research and Policy Advisory, noted that civil Servants’ remuneration, whether at the state or federal level – as and when due – is a necessary part of the employer/employee relationship. This affects the smooth working of the government. This is not only because the survival and livelihood of civil servants depend on timely salary payment but also because the government’s refusal to pay smacks of the disregard for the legal obligation to pay.
The delay in salary payments for civil servants in Nigeria has been prominent for at least half a century. To make the situation even worse, these delays are evident at the national and sub-national levels. This state of affairs has been affirmed to constitute a breach of the basic contractual provisions that exist between an employer and employee and failed to recognise national legislation on employee rights at the continental and international levels.
“Despite relatively small coverage, there is clear evidence that several states are struggling to meet up with paying the new Minimum Wage, which moved to Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000.00k), a situation which is worse off when compared to the periodic payment of the previous Eighteen Thousand Naira (N18,000.00k) minimum wage.
“Without a doubt, many state governments are currently battling with the inability to meet up with salary obligations, alongside rising debt, interest rates and inflation. BudgIT posits that this state of affairs is a combination of ‘governance failure’ bordering on mismanagement and administrative inefficiency, an unnecessarily large wage bill which itself may be due to poor planning and hiring practices, and a problem of broader macroeconomic downturns which in some sense are beyond the control of the state governments, as they have little influence over monetary and fiscal policies.
“Therefore, BudgIT calls on the various state governments to urgently address this glaring inability to pay state workers’ salaries as the attitude, enthusiasm, productivity and survival of state workers and their families are directly related to the timeliness of their remuneration.
“Abia state has not paid some workers in 22 months while more than 10 states owe their workers at least a month’s salary as of July 28, 2022.