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‘Why payment of October salary is delayed’

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Increase in minimum wage and shortfall in revenue are responsible for the delay in payment of October salaries of some Federal Government workers, Minister of Information and Communication, Lai Mohammed, has said.

He made the disclosure during the 2021 budget defence of his ministry and the associated agencies before the Senate Committee on Information.

The explanation came against a backdrop of the revelation that 428 federal ministries, departments and agencies have exhausted their 2020 personnel costs and are unable to pay October salaries.

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Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information and National Communication, Danladi Sankara, had enquired to know why the ministry failed to pay workers and wondered if there was increase in the number of personnel to warrant such development.

The minister explained that aside from revenue shortfall, increment in salaries and minimum wage also affected the budget. According to him, there is increment in salary because every year, workers earn more than you earned the previous year. “My simple explanation is that the increase in wages is affecting the budget.”

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Nebeolisa Anako, said the N3.9 billion budgeted for overhead was reduced to N2.9 billion by the Budget Office.

Ibrahim Abdullahi Dambaba (Sokoto South) who earlier raised an observation on some items in the ministry’s 2020 budget, advised the minister to prioritise expenditure to reduce frivolous expenses.

According to him, there are some items in the 2020 budget of the ministry that have the money voted for them still intact. “In your 2021 projections, you still have more money for those subjects. What I am trying to say is that if you know you will not utilise those funds, why not move them into areas in critical need?” Dambaba asked.

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