El-Rufai justifies “mass sack” of workers

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The Kaduna state government has said that dwindling finances and high wage bill were responsible for the sacking of workers on its payroll.
In a statement on Monday, the government declared that it had no choice than to reduce the workforce due to high wage bill without corresponding revenues from the Federation Account Allocations Committee (FAAC)
The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had last week Wednesday at a press conference, kicked against the “mass sack” of workers, calling on the state government to “reverse this unpopular decision and seek alternative means of running government without
inflicting additional pains on the public.”
The statement signed by Muyiwa Adekeye, spokesman to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said “government finances have been severely stretched by higher wage bills at a time when revenues from the Federation Account Allocations Committee (FAAC) have not increased.”
Adekeye explained that what the government has been receiving from FAAC since the middle of 2020, like most other sub-nationals, can barely pay salaries and overheads.
He said, “In November 2020, KDSG had only N162.9m left after paying salaries. That month, Kaduna State got N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages.
“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.”
The statement said further that, in March 2021, the state government received N4.819b from FAAC, adding that only N321m was left after settling personnel costs.
“This,” according to him, “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,’’
The statement maintained that the government “was elected to develop the state, not just to pay the salaries of public servants. It was elected to promote equality of opportunity, to build and run schools and hospitals, upgrade infrastructure and make the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.’’
Adekeye said in September, 2019, the state government was the first to pay the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments, stressing that this was followed by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly.
He said, this significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments.
“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.
“The 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,’’ Adekeye maintained.
He stated further that the measures taken by government to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic ‘’have shown clearly that the public service requires much fewer persons than it currently employs.”
According to him, “The public service is an important institution, and it should therefore maintain only an optimum size.
“Faced with a difficult situation, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it cannot refuse to act or act in ways that only conduce to populist sentiment, without solving the fundamental problem”.
The statement also disclosed that political appointees will be affected by the rationalisation exercise to save funds for development projects.

ENDS

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