Economic activities are yet to pick up in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as civil servants trickled in to work with most of them are yet to return from their various destinations.
THISDAY visited some of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) located at the Federal Secretariat Complex, Central Area Abuja to discover that most offices were either locked or witnessed little activities because of low workers attendance.
It was also observed that over half of the workforce within the complex that houses most of the Federal Ministry and parastatals including the Head of Service of the Federation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Youth Development, Health, Education, Women Affairs and Labour amongst others failed to turn up to work.
THISDAY also visited the car park behind the Eagle Sqaure and observed that most of the parking lots were empty with one of the security men at the entrance admitting that “people did not come to work.”
This year’s holidays unlike the period when Christmas and New Year festive fell within the weekend, with the next working day set aside as public holiday with which most people, especially the public servants would have used to return to their various destinations.
However, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) to the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Tope Ajakaiye, has explained that the absence from work is not deliberate but was as a result of most workers taking their annual leave within the festive period.
Ajakaiye reminded that the period is always characterised by low budget implementation and most people found it convenient to take their leave within the period.
“Most of the absentees you noticed did not abscond from duty but had their official annual leave. You know our people that they would like to travel to see and interact with their family. This is not unusual,as most people take their annual leave during this period coupled with the fact that we normally witness low budget implementation. This will continue till second week of January,” he added.
The same scenario was also witnessed at the FCT Administration (FCTA) but with appreciable attendance and administrative activities.
“There was significant improvement over the Christmas period as you can notice some skeletal activities,” said one of the staff of FCTA, Mr. Wisdon Akkar.
The dull economic and commercial atmosphere was also witnessed in other areas and parts of FCT as business activities remain very low including few commercial buses and private vehicles on the roads. Even the busy Maraba/Nyanya-AYA axis that was synonymous with gridlock has witnessed a constant free movement of vehicles for the past two weeks.
Similarly major markets in the nation’s capital, including Wuse Market, Garki Model Markets, Karu, Nyanya and Kubwa Markets has lots of shops locked and low patronage.
Musa, who is one of the shop owners in Wuse Market said that most of their colleagues that travelled are yet to return and that as the first batch travelled on or before christmas returned the second set that travelled for the New Year to their various communities are yet to return.
“A lot of people travelled for various things, especially you know Igbo people this is the period some travel for village meetings, marriages and others for one project or another like building of houses,” he added.
Similarly, several major and smaller hotels which used to be a beehive of events, workshops, programmes and symposiums are all still in holiday mode. The same can be said of banks; where there is a noticeable low customer patronage both inside the premises and the usually long queues witnessed at the ATM points.
However, there are signs from the various motor parks to indicate that people are returning in their droves back to FCT but are yet to resume works.
There was increased number of returning passengers at Peace Park, Ifesinachi, ABC Motors and others all at Utako, in addition to the Utako Motor Park, Zuba Park and Nyanya Parks amongst others.
Meanwhile, according to past experiences business activities are expected to pick up by the end of this month or first week of February.