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FG spends N177bn on wage awards in four months


The Federal Government has spent N177.4bn to offset payment of the wage award promised to civil servants in four months, according to Saturday PUNCH findings.

The payment of wage awards to Nigerian workers was one of the deals agreed upon by the organised labour and the Federal Government as one of the ways to mitigate the effect of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol.

According to GovSpend, a civic tech platform that tracks and analyses the Federal Government’s spending, the government, through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, made a monthly payment of N44.34bn to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System transaction account, a platform that stores payment details of all federal workers in the country.

This means the government has paid N177.4bn to 1,266,906 federal civil servants in four months and N77.4bn more than the appropriated allocation in the 2023 supplementary budget.

President Bola Tinubu, shortly after announcing the removal of the petrol subsidy in May 2023, promised to give a N35,000 wage award to Federal Government workers for six months. It was, however, suspended after two months.

The organised labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress protested the government’s suspension of the payments and recently threatened an industrial action if the government failed to resume the payment, which was included in the 2023 supplementary budget.

In a proposal, it was stated that the four-month wage award would cost the Federal Government around N210bn.

However, the approved document showed that it would now cost the Federal Government about N110bn.

Following an ultimatum given by organised labour, the Minister of State for Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, noted that the government would again resume the payment of the wage awards.

“I am here specifically to reassure you that we have not forgotten about the agreements between the government and trade unions. Thank God that you have confirmed that the Federal Government has started paying the N35,000 wage award and I can assure you that the payment is on course, and the outstanding will be paid within a short period,” she said.

Some federal civil servants on Tuesday, in separate interviews with our correspondent, confirmed that the Federal Government had made payments for the November and December 2023 wage awards.

A senior civil servant who confided The PUNCH, however, said some civil servants had started receiving the wage award for November 2023.

“Payment came in this morning. Others have also confirmed receipt in my agency,” the source said.

Also, a staffer of the News Agency of Nigeria confirmed the payments for November/December 2023.

She said, “I received mine on Tuesday, and I was paid for two months- November and December 2023. The payment was N35,000 for each month”

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