At least 428 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in the federal civil service have reportedly exhausted their 2020 personnel costs and are, therefore, unable to pay salaries.
Funds meant for personnel costs are domiciled in accounts overseen by the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), department in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).
But an official of the Ministry of Finance who pleaded anonymity, told Vanguard yesterday that it was strange for MDAs to claim to have exhausted their personnel budgets before end of a fiscal year.
He said each MDA has a budget for personnel costs and wondered how anyone would claim there was no money to pay salaries. According to him, chief executive officers of such MDAs have to explain what is happening.
However, the situation is such that the morale of officers and men of the Federal Fire Service (FFS) for instance, is now at an all-time low, following inability of the Ibrahim Alhaji Liman-led management of the service to pay salaries of the operatives for the past two months.
Consequently, there are grumblings within the service, with plans by some personnel to stay away from work, saying they could no longer continue to borrow money to come to work. While the operatives used to receive their salaries between 26th and 29th of every month, the situation took a dramatic turn in September as they were not paid. Hopes that they would be paid in days became dashed when weeks after, they were still not paid.
A similar situation recurred in the month of October. Hard times Many of the operatives, who spoke with Vanguard, said life had become increasingly difficult for them as they are unable to meet financial obligations while they have exhausted their goodwill with their neighbours and can no longer continue to borrow money to feed and go to work.
It was learned that the situation is not different in many other MDAs. “Schools were only recently reopened after the COVID-19 induced lockdown. This is the time to pay fees. Some of us have more than one child in school. Where do we get the money to pay the fees?” a staff in one of the MDAs lamented.
Another personnel who also declined to give his name for fear of possible sanctions, said he was tired of borrowing from neighbours. He said: “I am deployed in one of the states where state workers are not even paid on time. Now, the Federal Government has not paid me for the past two months. Who do I borrow from? Is it from my neighbours who are state civil servants and who have also not been paid or who are paid in percentages?
“My wife sells foodstuffs. As I speak, we have exhausted all she had in the shop. My situation is even better. There are some couples who are both staff of the service. Only God knows how those ones have been surviving.
“We are not even talking about allowances or beverages that should be given to operations staff. We are asking for our salaries. They blame us for speaking in the social media but the truth is that most of us did not even say anything on the social media. (Vanguard)