By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo

Apparently uncomfortable with various tax payments in the state, civil servants in Lagos State have demanded an immediate reduction in the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) tax deducted by the state government from their monthly salary.

The workers also demanded an urgent review of the salary structure of the state workers which they stressed is causing disparity among the state and their federal counterparts.

They made the demands at the stakeholders meeting of the committee on the development of pay policy and review system and salary determination of Lagos State in Alausa, Lagos.

The workers argued that the huge amount of tax deducted from their monthly salary had reduced their purchasing power as against the increasing price of goods and services in the state.

The civil servants lamented that the tax deducted from their “monthly salary is at par with Federal Government workers but there is no similarity in terms of their basic salary, adding that it is a gross injustice.”

It will be recalled that the committee on the development of pay policy, review system and salary determination of Lagos State civil servants was inaugurated by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on August 16, 2010.

The committee is saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the current pay system of civil servants and political office holders in the state. The committee was expected to submit their finding on September 30, 2010 to the state government.

Speaking at the forum, Mrs. Toyin Bowale said; “We agree that taxes deducted from state civil servants is a Federal Government policy, then if it is a Federal Government policy, and both state government and federal government workers are being affected by the policy, there should not be disparity between both set of workers.”

Mrs. Monisola Ojo said: “The only way the state government can make civil servants in the state happy is to reduce our tax.”

“When we talk about salary that is the reason why any worker wakes up in the morning and goes to work, I know that Lagos State is a mega-city with large workforce and for any city that is mega, the salary of any state worker should be mega.

I am appealing that our basic salary should be critically reviewed because it is too poor. Review our basic salary, the basic salary of Lagos State workers is poor that is what our emolument will be worked upon when we are about to retired from the service. Why can I put in 35 years into service and when I am retiring as a chief matron, my gratuity will be N2 million and that of Federal Civil Servant will be N8 million.”

Responding, the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Mr. Jide Sanwoolu, explained that the reason for the disparity between the Lagos State Civil Servants and their federal counterparts is due to the difference in the revenue of both governments.

Sanwolu said: “It is unfortunate but we are in a federating state but we will do everything to ameliorate the welfare of our workers.”

On the activities that will be done by the state government, the commissioner stressed: “The state government will do it in terms of giving free health care to the workers, distributing cars to staff and other things that will make them still be at par with federal civil servants.”

He added: “But if it is for us to pay beyond Federal Government, we are not under any threat but it will be based on our efficiency as we do not have any limitation on what we can pay.”

Sanwoolu noted: “What civil servants will benefit at the end of the day is that we will fashion out a process in which it will be a win_win situation in which both parties will benefit from because it is an attempt for us to put our future in our hands.

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