By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Government is set to reduce the salaries of its workers by a minimum of 70% investigations by This Day in the office of the Head of Service has revealed.
The decision to cut the emoluments of workers according to the investigation, followed the continued drop in the amount received by the state government from the Federation Account in the last couple of months.
According to the findings, government had to borrow from commercial banks and other sources to augment what it received from Abuja and its internally generated revenue to be able to pay staff salaries making capital projects to remain on the drawing board.
The investigations showed that government claimed that the amount it received from the Federation Account for the month of April was a paltry N600m after all deductions while the IGR of the state was just N480m.
THISDAY learnt that the decision to cut salaries of workers had been put before the joint negotiating council of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC in the state which vehemently opposed the policy.
As a result it was gathered that a meeting between government officials and those of the Organised Labour was held in Minna on Friday with the NLC maintaining its ground.
It was gathered that the government team led by the Head of Service Alhaji Mohammed Maude Lapai presented other options before the meeting which it asked Labour to consider and take a stand on.
Among the options it was learnt was that if Labor insisted that workers’ salaries should not be cut they should be prepared for a drastic reduction in the workforce or that government should pay ministries monthly but on rotational basis or that all the senior staff from grade level 12 above would forfeit their pay for unspecified period to enable government settle the pay of junior workers.
Another option put before Labour according to a source at the meeting was that for whatever amount the government got at the end of the month 50% of the amount should be released to the NLC for the payment of workers’ salaries while the balance would be kept by government for execution of capital projects and other activities of the government.
Labour officials, according to a source at the meeting requested for explanation on what happened to the bailout fund of N6bn it got from the federal government when it was clear that the last administration did not leave any debt in unpaid salaries.
Also labour requested from government what it had done with other loans collected which were not less than N10bn.
It was learnt that the meeting rose without a decision being taken because the NLC leadership asked for time to work on all the proposals.
But when contacted on Phone Chairman of the NLC in the state Comrade Yahaya Idris Ndako confirmed that a meeting between the government and Labor on the issue was going on as at the time This Day called.
“We have not taken any decision; I will get back to you” Ndako declared.
However, we learnt that Labour met briefly at the Labour house on Friday where all the options put forward by the government were rejected. The NLC will continue its meeting on Monday a source said.
An effort to get the Head of Service was abortive as he rushed to the mosque after the meeting broke up.