…Says Plan Suicidal
The Federal Government has debunked viral reports suggesting a purported plan to cut wages of workers, stating that the government is rather planning to review the salary structure.
Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this stated that the plan by the government to review the salary structure will allow workers earn a “fair and equitable wages.”
The minister who reacted to a report which quoted her to have said the federal government was going to reduce salaries of civil servants denied making such statement. She stated that the government is only reviewing salary structure.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister, Mr Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi.
The minister in the statement, said that the salary harmonisation is against the backdrop of the fact that some government agencies are paying higher salaries than others for staff on the same grade level.
Speaking further, the minister disclosed that the government had approved a N13.88 trillion budget with a deficit of over N5.6 trillion, and projected a revenue of N7.98trillion to fund part of the 2021 budget.
Ahmad stated that the expenditure of the government “filled year in year out with projects that we see over and over again and also projects that are not necessary,” hence the need to cut down the expenditure.
The minister also added that all agencies must come together to trim their costs, given Nigeria’s dwindling revenue.
The statement reads, “What government hopes to achieve is to redistribute wages equally across board. Let us bring our salary structure within government agencies as close or as equitable and fair.
“What we seek to achieve is to create fairness and equity and to reduce cost With this readjustment, when finally done, workers in the public service will earn a fair and equitable wages.”
“We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue.”
“We need to work together, all agencies of the government to cut down our cost. We need to cut down unnecessary expenditure. Expenditures that we can do without. Our budgets are filled year in year out with projects that we see over and over again and also projects that are not necessary.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the salaries committee, which I chair, work together with the head of service(HOS) and other members of the committee to review the government pay rolls considering stepping down on cost.”
Reacting, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had cautioned the federal government against slashing the salaries of workers.
The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who reacted in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘We have no more blood to bleed: Organised labour in Nigeria condemns and rejects plans to slash the salaries of Nigerian workers,’ criticized the government on the purported plan to slash the wages of workers.
According to Wabba any attempt to reduce workers’ pay would be suicidal.
The statement reads, “It is most unthinkable that government would be contemplating to unilaterally slash the salaries of Nigerian workers at this time. The question to ask is ‘which salary is government planning to slash?’ It certainly cannot be the meagre national minimum wage of N30,000 which right now cannot even buy a bag of rice. The proposed slash in salaries is certainly not targeted at the minimum wage and consequential adjustment in salaries that some callous state governors are still dragging their feet to pay.
“It is public knowledge that the multiple devaluation of the Naira in a very short time and the prevailing high inflation rate in Nigeria have knocked out the salaries earned by Nigerian workers across board. Nigerian workers are only surviving by hair’s breadth. Indeed, Nigerian workers are miracles strutting on two legs. It is, therefore, extremely horrendous for a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pronounce salary slash for Nigerian workers at this time.
“This call for salary slash by Mrs Zainab Ahmed is tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish for Nigerian workers. It is most uncharitable, most insensitive, most dehumanizing and most barbaric. Nigerian workers demand an immediate retraction and apology by the minister of finance.”