Nigeria is estimated to have lost a whopping N9.74 billion to multiple holidays, about 15 national public holidays, excluding holidays declared in some states over the course of 2016, a study has shown.
According to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the fourth quarter (Q4 2016), 81,151, 885 workers spent 37.38 million hours during the period and contributed N29.29 trillion to the economy at an average productivity rate of N783.51.
Adopting these estimates, the study based its assumptions on the expectation that workers spend an average of eight hours of productivity daily, 15 days of public holidays at N783.51 productivity value.
According to the findings, this summed up to about N9.74 billion, representing 10 % of the budgetary allocation in 19 states in 2016 when assessed on individual basis, was lost to the idle periods.
As noted in the report, the huge sum of at least N9.74 billion lost to the idle period could serve more productive purpose. For instance, this same amount could deliver a fully equipped teaching hospital to enhance the epileptic tertiary health care system in the country.
Some of the state declared holidays include: Osun-Osogbo festival in Osun State; Islamic New year in Oyo State; marking of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election in Lagos, Oyo and Osun; coronation of the Olubadan of Ibadan Day holiday; Edo public sector day, oba’s coronation day in Edo State; as well as celebration of Islamic New Year in Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Sokoto states, among others.
As a way of addressing the issue of incessant holiday, members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have called on the government across the states and at the federal level to optimise the use of available human and other resources efficiently for improved productivity.
The Director General, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Olusegun Oshinowo noted these holidays reduce the capacity of the country to maximize potentials.
According to him, the country needs to decide on the holidays that are necessary and the ones that are not, to be able to grow the economy.
Also, President of the Trade Union Congress, Bobboi Kaigama said if Nigeria was paying workers per hour she would have realised the big loss to public holidays.
“As a nation we don’t seem to appreciate that time is productivity, productivity is money and productivity is translated to Gross Domestic Products (GDP). The issue of excessive public holidays has to be addressed because holiday that ordinarily should be one day, for no reason that can be cited, government will declare two days.”