Nigeria owe civil servants

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salary

To the chagrin of the international community, some state governments in Nigeria owe their civil servants about five month salaries, thus violating the Declara?tion of Fundamental Principles & Rights at Work, adopted at the 86th International Labour Conference in 1998, with this country as one of the signatories.

Economic scholars had persis?tently proved that most internation?al economies are derive? econo?mies, and Nigeria is no exception. Succinctly, if a factor of survival or production is amiss, it clogs the survival life cycle. Non-payment of salary will certainly clog the progressive wheel of governance and bring disaffection to the civil servants. Lack of salary to the civil servants by the state governments from the three angles, negates the avowed symbiosis between state governments, civil servants; and the society. Government works will suffer setbacks as civil servants be?come perfidious and nonchalant in providing their professional servic?es, a hungry man, they say, are an angry man. This done, government will not be able to deliver projects on schedule, while the public conse?quently buffets the said government for failing in its promise.

How about the skewed ness on the side of the civil servants ? Of course, there will be no cash to meet their daily needs: shelter, clothing, cleansing and transportation etc. They visibly become tattered, shat?tered, debt-ridden, pauperised and dejected. Such situation betides a country like Nigeria that flows with milk and honey, that can afford to pay any past President, N23 million a month as pension.

What skewed toll is it taking on the side of the society? Society is the end consumer of cash disbursed by the state governments to the civil servants. The civil servants go to the marketplaces to procure whelps of essential and less essential commodities; they also save and invest some portion of the salary for the rainy days. Nonpayment of the cash, you will not agree less, tantamount to a colossal meltdown, as both economic and commercial activities tend to ebb low.

Again, the public will resort to tongue-lash the state governments for failing in their primary respon?sibility of securing the citizens and taking good care of their welfare.

Where is the cash? What had re?ally gone wrong? Our Excellencies (including Fashola for the first and the last time ever), failed to excel when they allowed the Federal Gov?ernment team to sweet-talk them on converting the excess crude revenue (escrow account) into the sover?eign wealth fund to be managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). They should have insisted on the status quo ante, that is, share the revenue among the three-tiers of government (Federal, states, and local governments) to serve as additional income and de?cide with the members of cabinets on how to dispense with the fund, either on budgetary expenditure or on investment and/or savings.

Conceding to the federal govern?ment as their chief investor against the rainy days is a mother/child kind of subterfuge. Now, the rainy days are here, salary is in deficit, go to the federal government to bail you out through NSIA. If the FG would not bulge, it is advisable the governors besiege the National Assembly to get the Bill that enacted the NSIA repealed. It may sound radical, but it is the best alterna?tive in the present quagmire. It is imperatively instructive that civil servants must receive their salaries as at when due. In any case, state governments should not even be borrowing to meet their wages obligation. Quoting from a frontline Egba chief, the Parakoyi of Owu Kingdom, M. Ola. Yusuf FCCA. dur?ing professional service in his firm, ?He who go borrowing, go sorrow?ing?, so, Folorunsho, do not borrow in order not to go sorrowing. He often counseled. In a clime, it is a fact, but in contemporary financial exponent, it is not necessarily so. Why? Coming on the heel of the first advise above, is this one that says human being is the primary purpose of government. Having said this, state governors should first secure the salary of the civil servants before allocating funds to other projects. In our own case, it is a converse literature.

Thirdly, governors should prevail on the Revenue Mobilisation, Al?location and Fiscal Commission to increase their allotment to 45 percent. The National Confab had recommended 35 per cent. I think it is open ended, something can still be done through conviction, after all, and the outcome of the confab is at the consensus and compro?mise levels, not yet a Constitution. However, its transformation into a Constitution is not compulsory, but it is absolutely recommended so to be.

Folorunsho Saburi Bello is a Financial Management expert

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