With fast declining revenue, the Federal Government said yesterday it is now faced with the prospect of borrowing to meet the monthly civil service wage bill of N165 billion.
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who had met with protesting workers of her ministry on Wednesday, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, which was not in the budget of the Ministry.
The minister said she had put all government departments to real squeeze in finances as the country grapples with the financial crisis inherited from previous administrations.
Pointing out that many people across the country are now struggling to find work, with some losing theirs, while civil servants in many states are not getting their salaries, the minister urged her ministry workers to be grateful for getting their salaries on consistent basis and work together to get the whole economy back on its feet.
At the meeting to reconcile all parties involved in the workers’ protest, it was agreed that the ministry’s management would meet with unions to consider the issues raised and map out ways to reach resolutions on of before today.
The minister had met with staff unions at the ministry on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing dispute over additional payments, where she urged them to present their grievances in a structured and articulated manner so that each issue would be formally presented and addressed on its merit.
While she expressed understanding for their demand for additional bonuses, based on their past dealings with the previous administration, she explained that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, especially the one that is not in the budget.
The minister added that while government is determined to end the ongoing impasse over bonus and allowance with the workers, the labour unions should propose modalities that would increase revenue generation and structure to pay the bonuses.
Furthermore, Adeosun revealed that the Director of Administration has been ordered to review all the claims and present solutions for all legitimate claims relating to working materials and ensure that such claims are resolved immediately through the ministry’s processes.
According to Adeosun, the most important thing at the moment is for management and staff to get a common understanding of what the government needed to do to regain financial stability.
A reliable source from the ministry told our source that the minister warned of a grave impact on all Nigerians and consequent delay of the payment of June 2016 salary should there be a further lockout.