Monday, 12 February 2024 04:51

Federal civil servants lament as January salaries get delayed as in December

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Federal civil servants in about 90 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to receive their January salaries.

The affected MDAs include the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHoCSF), Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Ministry of Education, National Population Commission, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Voice of Nigeria, among others.

In separate interviews with Daily Trust and Premium Times, the workers lamented and said their December 2023 salary delay experience ought not to have been repeated.

“As I am talking to you, myself and three of my colleagues have not been paid. The situation is not fair not with the current situation of the daily increment of prices of food items and other things in the country,” one of the workers said.

Others alleged that the delay in the payment of their salaries was an indication that the government was insensitive to the sufferings of the masses.

The delay in the December salary payment had been attributed to technical issues relating to upload and harmonization of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The delay in the payment of January salaries was blamed on the technical glitch on the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) platform by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).

GIFMIS is an IT-based system for budget management and accounting put in place by the federal government to improve public expenditure management processes and enhance greater accountability and transparency across ministries and agencies.

A January 31 memo titled, ‘Delay in the Payment of January 2024 Salary’, from the bursary department of the National Mathematics Centre, Abuja, to all its staff, signed by the acting bursar, Pius Ukwah, said, “We wish to inform you that January 2024 salaries will be delayed beyond normal.

“As of today, the OAGF is still working on finalising the 2024 appropriation on the GIFMIS platform and as a result, the personnel warrant for January is yet to be released”.

The memo, which copied the Director/CE, the Registrar and pasted on all notice boards, stated further, “The same situation applies to all MDAs and not just the centre. We regret the inconvenience caused by this delay.”

In Ekiti State, some of the workers who spoke with Premium Times included staff of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti; Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); National Orientation Agency (NOA), and Federal Ministry of Information, among others.

An official of FUOYE, Wole Balogun, said with the hardship being faced by the people, it was inconceivable that salaries could be delayed longer than necessary.

Balogun, who blamed the delay on an unnecessary bureaucratic bottleneck associated with the payment platforms, urged the federal government to expedite action on the payment, “because the situation is becoming unbearable.”

A staffer of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, Folashade Daramola, also lamented the delay. She noted that many members of staff have loan obligations that they ought to have paid as at when due, which have remained pending.

Also, Owoeye Ilesanmi, who is a staffer of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), said that in addition to delay in the payment of January salary, the federal government has reneged on the payment of the wage award.

In Katsina State, many federal workers spoken to also said they had not been paid their salary and palliatives support from the government.

Some of the affected workers told Premium Time that the delay was affecting their work schedule, as they now find it difficult to go to work, especially those living in areas far from their offices.

“I work in a department that requires me to go to the office every day, but I’ve finished my savings and I’m finding it difficult to travel to Dutsin Ma to undertake my responsibility,” Faruk (surname withheld), who is an engineer with the department of Physical Planning and Works at the Federal University, Dutsin Ma, said.

Another non-academic worker of the Federal Polytechnic, Daura, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said the delay in salary payment was affecting her activities, especially because she travelled daily from Katsina to Daura.

An official of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Edo State, Jude Abugu, described the delay in payment of salaries as commonplace in recent months.

A memo from the Accountant-General’s Office said work was ongoing towards finalising the 2024 budget on the GIFMIS platform.

When contacted last night, the Director of Press and Public Relations at the OAGF, Bawa Mokwa, told Daily Trust that about 90 offices across the MDAs were affected, including some universities and polytechnics.

He, however, said many of the workers had started receiving their salaries on Thursday; while others did on Friday and at the weekend.

“The issue was attributed to issue of uploading the 2024 budget and making it current because the salary was paid from the 2024 budget instead of the tradition where they overlap the budget,” he explained.

“All has been finalized on Friday. They are supposed to have started getting since yesterday (Saturday). If they don’t get, maybe it is from the banks, from tomorrow (Monday) morning, definitely they will get it”.

A top official in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, who insisted on not being named, said the delay in salary payment was not a punishment for workers.

He confirmed receiving his salary, but said he was aware that some of his “superior officers and some junior workers are yet to receive theirs.”

 

Daily Trust

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