ENUGU: Least Paying State In Nigeria
ENUGU is one of the states in the country that relies heavily on the monthly federal allocation. The over reliance on allocation follows the state’s status as a non-oil producing state and equally, a non-industrial hub. In fact, it is generally regarded as “civil servant state”, having also failed to develop its infrastructure and economy to generate revenue internally.
has not carried on like other states and the workers remain the least paid throughout the federation. It is on record that Enugu is among the states in the country that has refused to implement the approved minimum wage chart. What the Governor Sullivan Chime administration did, as soon as the issue was resolved between workers and Federal Government, was to add N10,000 to the salary of workers who were receiving N8,000 to enable it come up to N18,000.00.
When the workers complained, government took them to the industrial court, where the matter has laid since then. Workers had, in January this year, served notice of embarking on strike over the development, but were prevailed on to consider general interests, especially the election. There was also the alleged promise that incoming administration would look into the matter.
Although, government had been meeting with payment of salaries, other benefits like leave and pension allowances, among other benefits, have not received priority attention from government.
Osmond Ugwu, a labour leader in the state, has described the wage being paid to workers as ‘slave wage’. He stated that several amount of money go into frivolities while the workers continue to suffer. He said a director in the state civil service does not go home with N60,000 at the end of the month, does not have official vehicle, while political appointees ‘swim in millions and own official cars.’
Recently, there was uproar over N11 billion loans it applied to secure from some commercial banks, which government claimed, would help it complete projects it started. This is aside another N5 billion it reportedly secured towards the beginning of the first tenure.
There were also records from the Debt Management Office that the state’s debt, as at January 2014, was N12.016 billion. It is being feared that the state government might incur about N30 billion as debt before it leaves office in May this year.
To further survive the regime of reduction in revenue and drop in oil prices, state and local councils have continued to partner in projects, by contributing to counterpart funding. However, one disadvantage this has created is that many council chairmen now rely on it to exploit and owe workers.
For instance, several councils in the state are indebted to workers in salary and other allowances. Those who pay make unexplained deductions to the workers. Nsukka local government appears to be the worst hit, as it has reportedly not paid salary since December last year.
A government official told The Guardian on condition of anonymity that government was trying to shore up her internally generated revenue as a way of continuing with development projects.
He explained, “right now there is a marching order on the ministries and agencies to ensure that every kobo of government is recovered as the alternative to meeting our financial stress.”
He continued: “If you look at our budget this year, you will discover that it is higher than our proposal last year. What it means is that for us to faithfully implement that budget with the daily drop in revenue, we will need to tighten a lot of things and approach it in order of priority.”
Speaking specifically for his ministry, he said no release has been made to it this year, stressing that he had relied on funds generated internally to run the place, while capital projects have not been implemented.
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