The Kogi State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Onuh Edoka, says it is unfortunate that the state government is still not sure of its actual monthly wage bill, after over two years of a screening exercise that is still ongoing.
Edoka, who spoke on Saturday, said, “the state government does not know what the state wage bill looks like and are not too sure of the activities of those preparing her wage bill, and now wants to use the table payment to ascertain the true figures.
” The Kogi state government is only using the table payment to investigate those preparing the salaries of workers, when it discovered that the wage bill couldn’t have gone up even after a tortuous screening exercise that brought hardship on the workers”.
Edoka said it is a common knowledge that salaries are no longer prepared by accountants in ministries and parastatals, but rather by the accountant-general and auditor-general, who pay from a single source from government house in Lokoja.
In his words, “It was clearly an argument of labour at the discussion table that the N2.8billion figures as monthly wage bill of government was on the high side after two years of screening that saw many people lose their jobs, with several others cleared and yet to be returned on the pay roll.
” While at the discussion table, labour engaged the government that what it inherited from the immediate past administration was N2.6billion as monthly wage bill. We expressed our reservations on why the wage bill would still be going up, yet with many workers no longer on the payroll.
“Labour never made suggestions for table payment but rather it only challenged the bogus wage bill of the state which it felt unrealistic.
” When we met at the discussion table, the government through it financial management team said they will pay three and four months salaries to core ministries and tertiary institutions respectively.
” We now asked what was the total implication of the amount they want to pay from the money received by the government. They now said the total amount to be paid was N9.7billion, with the state monthly wage bill standing at N2.8billion.
” We now told them that the monthly figure was outrageous most especially that it inherited N2.6billion from past administration. We wondered why the wage bill is this high when several persons have lost job, and others are still not on the payroll since the screening began over two years ago.”
The NLC chairman, however, urged those who are defrauding the state using the Kogi State wage bill, to have a rethink, warning that such practices was only joepadizing the future of Kogites and the people.