By ANDREW OJIEZEL
ALARMED by untold suffering Nigerians, particularly civil servants, are going through especially in the past few months, organised labour under the auspices of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps and pay thousands of Federal Civil Servants their outstanding salaries and allowances in order to stimulate the economy.
In a Statement issued in Lagos, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, emphasised that if the Administration of President Muhammdu Buhari proceeded to pay arrears of salaries and allowances including promotion arrears owed thousands of Federal Civil Servants, their purchasing powers would surely increase.
ASCSN wondered why the Federal Government that dole out N713.7 billion to states to pay arrears of salaries and allowances to their workers had refused to settle similar debt owed its own employees even when a committee it set up to compute the outstanding liabilities completed its assignment and submitted its report to the Presidency more than 10 months ago.
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It lamented that a bag of rice now sold for N19,000 to N20,000 per bag more than the N18,000 monthly National Minimum Wage; a gallon of kerosine costs N1,200 from about N400 few months ago and the price of petrol was increased from N87.50 to N145 per litre.
“Generally, while the cost of goods and services has continued to rise astronomically, salaries of workers have remained static and these are not even paid in some states for the past six months.Since the welfare of the people is the main reason why Government exists, we wish to advise that the Federal Government should look beyond political party affiliation and other primordial affinity and assemble patriotic experts, who abound in Nigeria, to chart the way forward for the economy.”
According to the ASCSN, if the economic hardship continued without the Government addressing it, the impression would be created that the Government was insensitive to the plight of the citizens or that it was deliberately impoverishing them.
It advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow the goodwill that brought him to power to be easily eroded and so soon.