The Nigeria Senate has lashed at the Federal Government for embargoed employment in Nigeria and yearly increase in workers’ salaries, saying that the development was creating a ticking time bomb.
The Senate Committee on Establishment pointed out this on Thursday during a 2022 budget defence at the National Assembly, Abuja.
Senate’s anger was triggered by yearly increase in the recurrent expenditure component of the budget which was submitted by the Chairman of National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission ( NSIWC), Mr Ekpo Nta before the Senate Committee on Establishment.
Failure of Nta to tell the committee the total amount of salaries and wages the federal government pays its workforce yearly, infuriated many members of the committee who wondered why recurrent expenditure in yearly budget is not decreasing on account of embargo placed on employment and retirements at the various agencies.
Specifically, Senator Ali Ndume in taking up the NSIWC boss, said he was supposed to know the total wage bill of the Federal government workers in arresting the dangerous trend of increases in yearly recurrent expenditure component of the budget without new recruitments and even with retirement of workers on yearly basis.
“Honestly speaking, a time bomb is ticking out there with this policy because of the doors shut out against millions of youths seeking employment without success.
“Making it worrisome is the fact that despite the policy, since 2018 till now, recurrent expenditure components of the yearly budget have been increasing.
“In 2018, it was N3.5trillion, N4trillion in 2019, N4.5trillion in 2020, N5.6trillion 2021 and N6.83trillion in the projected N16.39trillion 2022 budget.
“It is bad for recurrent expenditure to be increasing on yearly basis without an increase in the number of workforce through required recruitments.
“The embargo is turning into a time bomb that can explode at any time as witnessed in some countries in the past.
“Personally, I’m already thinking of where to run to if the avoidable crisis is not averted. I visited Ghana and Niger recently in this regard.”
Other members of the committee like Suleiman Kwari (APC Kaduna North), Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP Ondo Central) and the Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Shekarau (APC Kano North), aligned themselves with Ndume’s admonition.
Pointedly, the Chairman of the Committee directed the Salaries and Wages Commission Chairman to liaise with the Accountant General of the Federation and other management officials of IPPIS, for required harmonization in arriving at the total amount of salaries /wages the federal government pays per annum.