Lawal Muhammad Maru
Amidst serious economic crises in the country some states in Nigeria are finding it very difficult to even pay salaries not to talk of executing developmental projects that are considered critical to human survival.
While the economic crises is looming among states in Nigeria, civil servants are at the receiving end; hence they continue to sleep within days of uncertainty as some states find it difficult to pay them salaries while pensioners could not be paid pension and gratuity for years.
Budgit a Civil Society financial tracker had recently released an updated report on state’s financial and economic strengths and as at July 31st 2022 Budgit indicators have shown that states like Ebonyi, Abia, Edo, Imo, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau and Taraba are among those that are owing their civil servants salaries of between six months and above.
Looking at the disbursement flow from January to June 2022 the data by the federal ministry of finance showed that the Federal Government got N1.684 trillion in the seven months. This sum makes up 37.62% of the total N4.477 trillion disbursed. State Governments got 31.42% of the amount, which is N1.407 trillion. The sum N962.83 was shared among the 774 Local Governments in the country. This shows that all the Local Governments together got 21.5% of the disbursements. An additional N258.363 was shared as the 13% derivation to the 9 oil-producing states.
It takes serious states in Nigeria the top time to exhibit wonders, or magic to be able to sustain payment of salaries and other entitlements of active and retired civil servants.
Zamfara state government led by Governor Bello Matawalle has been able to sustain this hard-earned momentum of paying monthly salaries without mincing the repercussions of insecurity, and its attendant effects on the economic development of the state.
From June 2019 a month after the government was inaugurated to date, data has shown that Matawalle administration has been able to sustain the payment of monthly salaries uninterrupted as well as monthly pension to retired civil servants.
This effort is beside payment of one hundred million on monthly basis for the settlement of backlog of gratuity. Estimate has shown that the administration of Matawalle since 2019 was able to settle over (N2b) two billion naira backlog of retirement benefits.
Again the state has inherited a backlog of debt worth over (N80b) eighty billion naira and these huge amount of debt is being settled on instalmental basis by the Governor.
Coming back to the contract liabilities alone the Governor according to the Ahmad Zabarma and Ibrahim Isah Mayana committee reports on state and local government projects from 2011-2019 the state is owing contract liabilities worth over (N100b) one hundred billion naira and the government is making significant progress in the gradual settlement of these liabilities to contractors.
It shall also be remembered that the state IGR is dropping drastically due to the consequential effects of insecurity, which affects the inflow of business activities, especially in the major markets.
Very few concern citizens cares to ask how the state government can use the scarce resources which are sometimes within the range of just (N2b) Two billion naira and little above to be able to pay salaries of close to (N2b) two billion naira and also sustain its considerable investment in supporting security operations, as well as execution of developmental projects.
Despite this looming economic crises, the government is still actively doing well in the provision of massive infrastructures, social intervention programmes, human empowerment, skills acquisition as well as women empowerment.
The labour and trade unions in the state need to actively support the state government initiative in its quest to transform the state by sensitizing its members on the effort made by the government of Bello Matawalle.
LAWAL MUHAMMAD MARU
Is a Senior Special Assistant to Governor of Zamfara State Bello Muhammad Matawallen Maradun (Barden Kasar Hausa)