Alleged ‘Mass Sack’ of Workers: Kaduna Justifies Action, Give Reasons

The Kaduna State Government has given reasons behind the mass sack’ of workers. According to the government, the dwindling finances and high wage bill of the state were responsible for the sacking of workers on its payroll. In a statement issued yesterday, the government declared that it had no other 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 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 the government without inflicting additional pains on the public.”

The statement signed by Muyiwa Adekeye, the 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, the state government had only N162.9million left after paying salaries. That month, the state got N4.83billion from FAAC, and paid N4.66bn as wages.

“In the last six months, personnel costs have accounted for between 84.97 percent and 96.63 percent of FAAC transfers received by the state government.”

The statement revealed that in March 2021, the state government received N4.819billion from FAAC, adding that only N321million 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 the government to run, which the state government taps into IGR earnings,’’

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.’’

According to Adekeye, 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 government areas.

“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 stated.