‘Why Kaduna is sacking civil servants’

By Esther Akaa

Kaduna State Government says it would reduce the size of its public service to enable government pay salaries from the Federation Account Allocations Committee (FAAC), noting  that the state is currently  overstretched by high wage bills.

The Special Adviser to Governor Nasir El Rufai on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday and made available to newsmen.

According to him, the desire to bow to the limits prescribed by the ability to pay, was painful but a necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of the state.

He explained that in November, 2020, the state received N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages with only N162.9m left after the payment of  salaries.

‘’From FAAC, since the middle of 2020, like most other sub-nationals, can barely pay salaries and overheads.

‘’In the last six months, personnel costs have accounted for between 84.97% and 96.63% of FAAC transfers received by the Kaduna State Government. In March 2021, Kaduna State had only N321m left after settling personnel costs.

‘’That month, the state got N4.819bn from FAAC and paid out N4.498bn, representing 93% of the money received.

‘’This does not include standing orders for overheads, funding security operations, running costs of schools and hospitals, and other overhead costs that the state has to bear for the machinery of government to run, for which the state government taps into IGR earnings,” he added.

Mr Adekeye further stated that   government was elected to develop the state, not just to pay the salaries of public servants but to promote equality of opportunity, build and run schools, hospitals, upgrade infrastructure and make the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.

He noted that the measures government took to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic have shown clearly that the public service requires much fewer persons than it currently employs.

The special adviser pointed out that the rationalisation exercise will also affect political appointees, saying that the purpose was to save funds and ensure that a strong and efficient public service exists to use available resources to implement progressive programmes and projects for the people for the development of the state.

‘’In September 2019, Kaduna State Government became the first government in the country to pay the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments. The state government followed this up by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly.

‘’This step to advance the welfare of workers significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments.

‘’While the Kaduna State Government believes that public sector wages overall are still relatively low, their current levels are obviously limited by the resources available to the government.

‘’What each public servant earns might be puny in comparison to private sector wages, but the total wage bill consumes much of the revenues of the state.’’

‘’Therefore, the state government has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the public service. It is a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state,’’ he added.

‘’⁸The public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees (and their families) cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than nine million that are not political appointees or civil servants. It is gross injustice for such a micro-minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State,’’ the statement said.

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