ENUGU: ‘Government Pays Workers Regularly, But Owes Allowances And Pensions’
Piqued by the suffering of workers occasioned by the non- payment of
salaries and allowances, the taskforce set up by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) last week published list of some states where salaries and allowances of workers are being owed.
In the list, Enugu State was mentioned as one of the states that did not owe salary to her civil servants. The state owes allowances of civil servants, gratuity and pensions of retirees well as workers in the various local governments and parastatals in the state.
Investigation by The Guardian revealed that the state has continued to pay salaries to her workers, it has also continued to owe them allowances which include leave and promotion, gratuity and pensions of retirees for years now.
Mr Ikenna Nwodo, a teacher in the state said he received his leave allowance last in 2012. He explained that though he had written severally to his Ministry, nothing tangible had come out of it.
He said the state has refused to join other states in the Contributory Pension Scheme, stressing that the development has compounded the plight of the workers of the state.
“The issue is not whether our salary is being paid, yes. We receive salaries as at when due because the state government has made the payment of teachers’ salary a priority. But there are other benefits attached to it. These are not paid and
“I personally have not received my entitlements like leave, promotion among others since 2012. We are hoping that the government will one day address the anomalies, knowing that we are not only entitled to it, we are members of the society”, he stated.
But if these teachers and other cadre in the civil service in the state are paid regularly, workers of the parastatals and local governments are being owed salaries in various proportions.
The Guardian learnt that all the local governments in the state owed workers three to five months’ salaries. Some of the workers are being paid half salary.
Nsukka local government is said to be owing her workers five months’ salaries. It was gathered that institutions like Enugu State Broadcasting Services (ESBS), Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Rangers International Football Club, College of Education, Sports Council among others are being owed for several months now.
ESBS and IMT are said to be owing workers’ salaries since February.
A staff in one of the establishments said: “We are warned not to go public with the development. Since February we have not received any pay. They kept telling us that the subvention from the state cannot pay all the workers at the same time. What they normally do is to pay our casuals and other categories of staff, leaving out the rest. This thing has gone on for months and one keep wondering when it will end”.
She attributed the situation to the last general elections where government failed to release subventions due to the agency, stressing that what we generate internally cannot pay salary, overheads and other allowances.”
Asked how the workers have fared over the development, she said: “We still go to work and do our duties, but you will agree with me that we may not give our best. For me, I have always had my hands on some other little jobs I do for people, especially on Saturdays. Anyday I have something that can fetch me some money, I usually obtain permission to do it and that is the way most of us are surviving”.
The case of Rangers International Football Club is in the public domain. Sources said apart from salary, sign-on-fees and other allowances have not been paid to the players.
The development is said to have resulted to serious migration of some top players of the club as well as their performance in the league competition. The club is also in an uncomfortable position on the league table.
The issue of salaries of workers of the State Printing and Publishing Company (Daily Star) by the state government has become a reference point. For over three years, workers of the parastatal have not been paid. The state government has neither closed the establishment nor relieved the staff of their jobs.
Last year, government acting on instructions from experts it set up to
reorganize the state broadcasting service transferred the services of some workers to the ministries and other establishments, while those who were due for retirement were retired. No such palliative came the way of the Daily Star workers.
A staff of the defunct Daily Star Newspaper, Simeon Ugwuoke said: “I don’t think we still exist in the records of the Enugu State government. We have been forgotten after various years of meritorious service. Nobody thinks of us and every year, government makes budget that accommodates Daily Star without implementation.