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Zamfara civil servants write Governor Matawalle over implementation of minimum wage

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Civil servants in Zamfara State are currently not happy with their state governor, Bello Matawalle over non implementation of the minimum wage. And this they have made known to the governor via a letter signed by a group of civil servants made up of Malam Sulaiman Tukur, Mikail Barau PhD , Mansur Muhammad Bello, Tijjani Salihu Shinkafi PhD, Al-Amin Tsafe  PhD , Malam Shehu Lawal, Malam Nuraddeen Shehu and Mustapha Abdullahi PhD, on behalf of Zamfara State Civil Servants.

In the letter in which they appealed to the governor to implement the minimum wage, they noted that the state civil servants did not enjoy the implementation of any minimum wage during the last administration, as what the last administration did was an adjustment of junior staff salary from N7,500 to N18,000 which provided some relief to workers within a certain cadre, leaving the margin between a level 03 and level 07 with only difference of N2,000 to N3,000 only.

“The role of civil service in the actualisation of any developmental agenda cannot be overemphasised. The civil service serves as the engine room where public policies and programmes are formulated,  implemented and evaluated. They are the backbones for success of every administration because they render technical advises to political office holders and also ensure sustainability of the government.
“Your Excellency, should note that, the success of any government is nearly impossible without a motivated workforce. This motivation is both material and non material.
“Now that the biometric data capturing of civil  servants is  almost concluded and the committee for the implementation of national minimum wage has submitted its reports since last year, we want to use this medium to passionately appeal to his Excellency to immediately approve the payment of promotion arrears of the state civil servants and approve the adjustment of salary structure of local government workers to reflect the present salary structure of the state workforce, this  will pave way for the implementation of new national minimum wage.
“You may wish to recall that the state civil servants were not enjoying any minimum wage during the last administration, what  the last  administration does was an adjustment of junior staff salary from N7,500 to N18,000 which provided some relief to workers within certain cadre, this unfair adjustment left the margin between a level 03 and level 07 with only difference of N2,000 to N3,000 only.”
The letter noted that there has been a backlog of promotion and annual increment of worker in the state for years.
“There’s a lot of backlog of promotion and annual increment of workers in the state for years. A level 12 worker is still collecting salary of level 08 and there are many instances like that. As it is now, the minimum wage for staff of  local government councils remains N7,500.
“How can one expect N7,500 (seven thousand naira) to feed a person and his family for a month;  in fact, seven thousand naira cannot pay his transport  fare to his work station for a month, in addition to that he has to pay rent, electricity bill, hospital bill, feed the family and buy other upkeep items. This has poses serious economic and security challenges to the state which can be linked to the increase in crime rate in the state. As it is,  many civil servants have turned to beggars.
“After taking other things into consideration, this appeal becomes necessary at this material time considering the hardship faced by the civil servants and coupled with the hunger and abject poverty in the state. The payment of promotion arrears/adjustment of State and Local Government workers respectively and subsequent implementation of new national minimum wage will go along way in reducing the hardship faced by the civil servants in the state and it will not only benefit the state workforce alone, but will also boost the economic activities in the state.
“When the purchasing power of people increases, it will push demand for goods and services; as a result, production and supply will increase too, money will circulate and exchange hands, traders and labourers will find something to take home. At the end many people will smile.
“It is very unfair in a poverty stricken state like Zamfara, workers were being paid N7,500 as take home per month. Your Excellency, were you not told that government spending and intervention stimulate business activities, create employment and facilitate economic growth.
“We  believe the state has the capacity to implement the  new minimum wage based on priority. Beautification, building, renovation of government lodges and supply of exotic cars aren’t as important as workers welfare.  Implementing minimum wage will reinvigorate commercial activities in the state, money will exchange hands from Civil servants to traders, traders to farmers, farmers to labourers and service providers etc. everyone will have something to take home, the economic activities will increase; also, the revenue of the state will increase too due to the increase of economic activity in the state.
“The total net allocation receipt of Zamfara state government between June 2019 to December 2020 were N70.40 billion and the IGR was N23.49 billion average while the amount being paid as salary within same period were N24.7 billion maximum on average of N1.3 billion monthly. The debt profile of the state increased from about N70 billion to N98.02 billion within same period. This indicates that the current administration took a loan of about N28.02 billion, in addition to that there’s N1.9 billion received in November as stimulus for Covid-19 from state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) fund to support 2020 budget.
“The total net allocation receipt of Zamfara state local government councils between June 2019 to December 2020 were N52.24 billion and no single project  worth 100 million executed by this administration in any of the local government from their funds while some of their staff are receiving N7,500 as monthly salary.
“In all, the total receipt of the state including the LGs from June, 2019 to December 2020 were N176.05 based on records from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Office of National Bureau of Statistics.
“At this juncture we want to advise government  to gear up to improve it Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) both tax and non tax revenue, and shall block leakages on tax collection and ensure that what is due for government goes to government coffers and then channel it to public infrastructure and not allow it to end up in the pocket of few individuals leaving the taxpayers with double pains i.e the pain of taken part of their income and pain of not providing them with the infrastructures.
“Having high number of political aides at the moment is not sustainable and it amounts to double standard whereas government complaint of not having enough money to implement national minimum wage and at the same time adding up more political appointees to its payroll.
“Implementing national minimum wage will give you more support from workforce of the state, their families and defendants than spending on aides and political decampees, whose some of  them cannot deliver their polling units talk less of their wards/local governments.
“We may wish to remind you that implementation of full minimum wage and payment of annual leave allowances is one of your campaign promises, we therefore call on you to honour your pledge. To this end, we want to assure you of our full support in moving the state forward.”

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