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8 Nigerian States Owe Workers Salaries for at Least Six Months – Report

Eight state governments failed to pay some of their workers for at least six months, a new report has revealed.
The states are Taraba, Nasarawa, Edo, Ebonyi, Ondo, Plateau, Imo, and Abia.

According to the report, they owe active workers as well as retirees.
Irregular payment of workers’ salaries has been a problem in Nigerian states for decades. Officials often blame revenue shortfall, yet continue to apply the same lean resources to their lavish interests.

Budgit said it conducted the survey to spotlight and identify state governments that have consistently failed to meet the essential requirement of governance and employee compensation.

The group called on governments to urgently address the 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.
The organisation in its empirical survey across the 36 states of the federation expressed displeasure over certain state governments’ refusal to pay the monthly salaries accruable to civil service workers in their states as and when due.

BudgIT conducted this empirical survey to spotlight and identify state governments that have consistently failed to meet the essential requirement of governance and employee compensation, thereby subjecting their workers to unpaid labour and harsh living conditions.
However, the Edo State government has asked BudgIT, to retract its publication.

In a letter addressed to BudgIT’s Country Director, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Iserhienrhien Efe, said the publication which claimed Edo owed six months’ salaries was false and “has the tendency to mislead the public”.

The state government asked the organisation to take down the publication within 48 hours and issue a public apology.
One state, Abia, did not pay some workers for 22 months.
“The state (Abia) currently owes its state tertiary institution workers six months’ salary, while Ebonyi State has not paid its pensioners in the last six months,” BudgIT said in its report.

It said secretariat workers in Taraba State complained of irregular salary payments for up to six months, while lecturers at state tertiary institutions and midwives in the state-owned hospital in Ondo State have not been paid in the last four months.

BudgIT said this in a statement signed by Assistant Head, Media and Communications, Iyanu Fatoba,
The organisation said the outcome of its report titled, “2022 Nigerian Sub-National Salary Survey,” showed that “at least 12 states owe their workers at least one month’s salary as of July 28, 2022”.

It urged concerned states to prioritise employees’ rights by paying all accrued salaries.
“BudgIT expressed this disapproval after its empirical survey across the 36 states in the federation revealed that at least 12 states owe their workers at least one month’s salary as of July 28, 2022,” the statement reads.

“BudgIT conducted this empirical survey to spotlight and identify state governments that have consistently failed to meet the essential requirement of governance and employee compensation, thereby subjecting their workers to unpaid labour and harsh living conditions.”

It added that findings from the survey showed that “Abia, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Ondo and Taraba owe three years or less in payments”.

“For example, Abia State currently owes its state tertiary institution workers six months’ salary, while Ebonyi has not paid its pensioners in the last six months. Secretariat workers in Taraba complained of irregular salary payments for up to six 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 months.”
BudgIT’s head of research and policy advisory, Iniobong Usen, said civil servants’ remuneration is a necessary part of the employer-employee relationship, whether at the state or federal level.

Usen said the delay in payment of salaries affects the smooth working of the government, adding that the survival and livelihood of civil servants depend on timely salary payment and the government’s refusal to pay shows its disregard for the legal obligation to pay.

“Nigerian civil servants are unfortunately no strangers to delays and gaps in monthly salary payments. Despite belonging to the executive implementing arm of the government, they have been left without payments in many instances. With several states guilty of this non-payment, civil servants are often at wit’s end at ‘month end,” he said.

The civic tech group further said the lingering issue has become worrisome, adding that non-salary payments are a breach of the basic contractual provisions between an employer and employee and failed to recognise national legislation on employee rights at the continental and international levels.

“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,” the group added.

According to the group, “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.”

 

 

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