By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS—ASSOCIATION of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, yesterday in Lagos, lambasted the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over recent claims that N1.8 trillion was being spent annually on wages in the public service, saying the Minister was economical with the truth.
The union in a statement urged the Minister not only substantiate how N1.8 trillion was being spent annually on wages, but to also tell Nigerians how much of the N1.8 trillion was consumed by public office holders including Ministers, Special and Ordinary Advisers, Personal, Senior, and Junior Assistants, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, including their humongous quarterly allocations.
ASCSN, in the statement by its Secretary-General, Mr. Alade Bashir Lawal, contended that it had become necessary for the Finance Minister to give graphic details of the amount so that Nigerians could be better informed on the issue.
The Finance Minister on Monday, through the Director-General, Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, while exchanging views with the House Committee on Health in the on-going nation-wide strike by the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, claimed the Federal Government wage bill for public servants had risen from N857 billion in 2009 to N1.8 trillion while the staff strength was now 1.2 million.
According to the statement “It is also necessary for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to tell Nigerians how much salary is paid by each Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) per year including their staff strength. When you have done these analyses, it will become crystal clear how much of the N1.8 trillion is consumed by the whopping emoluments of the Political Office Holders.
”Besides, it should be stated that records at our disposal show clearly that the staff strength in the entire Public Service is about 870,000 and not 1.2 million being bandied about by the Minister unless there is a hidden agenda somewhere.”