Tension is reportedly brewing in Kogi State following threat by the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shut down the state if the government fails to rescind its decision to cut salaries of workers on Grade Level 7 and above.
The state’s Vice-Chairman of NLC, Alhaji Suleiman Abdullahi who made the threat said their main grouse is that the decision to cut salaries by government in the first place ought to have been discussed with labour so that other avenues beyond pay cut can be arrived at.
“There are many other avenues the government can use to augment the shortfall especially in reducing the number and or monthly-take-homes of the political appointees who are obviously not contributing to the state’s development”.
However, reacting, the Kogi State Government said the rather unpopular decision to cut salaries of its workers is as a result of significant shortfalls in the state’s revenue allocation which is believed to be crippling the state.
Abubakar Michael, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor who spoke to Global Patriot Newspaper said the government is rather appealing to the good senses of the workers and the people of the state as they are in a dire situation right now.
“The government is appealing to the good people of Kogi State particularly the workers to see reason with us. The pay cut is not permanent rather an interim measure to create a level of stability to the system and retain our wonderful image as one of the most worker friendly States in the federation. We have a record of about the highest wage paying state in Nigeria, ranging from the 18,000 naira minimum wage and so forth. It is all from the fluctuations in the allocations coming to us as with every other state. Imagine as it is, we received N2.7billion as allocation for the month while the state’s wage bill alone is 3.2billion.
This situation has been on for a while and we have been borrowing to augment the outstandings coupled with other debts like the huge one we inherited from the Abubakar Idris administration which we have been paying. How far can a government go this way? Remember this cut is only for workers on grade level 7 and above; those on 6 and below are not included and it will be reversed as soon as we level up.
The government however is talking with and appealing to labour to please understand the situation and bear with us,” he concluded.