By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS— The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, yesterday, in Lagos implored the Federal Government not to use the ongoing staff audit to send thousands of workers into the already saturated labour market.
The union said government should not forget that the rising crime wave and insecurity in the country were products of the army of idle and able-bodied men and women who had resorted to crime in absence of productive endeavours.
ASCSN in a statement by its President and Secretary, Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Alade Bashir Lawal, respectively, recalled that one of the cardinal campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, APC, was employment creation for millions of jobless Nigerians.
The statement read: “Even in a recent retreat organized by the Federal Government for ministers-designate, President Buhari re-emphasized the commitment of his administration to diversify the economy, upgrade infrastructure, and generate employment opportunities for the teeming jobless citizens.
“We, therefore, urge the government to invest more energy in these areas to revitalize the economy, instead of toeing the old pattern of resorting to retrenchment of civil servants once there is a minor hiccup in the economy.
“The staff strength in the core civil service is less than 100,000, while that of the entire public service, including the civil service, is about 870,000.
“These also include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Custom, Immigration, Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC etc.
“For a population of 180 million people, this is certainly insignificant when it is considered that employment generation and other welfare programmes for the citizens are part of government’s responsibility.
“It is just a mere 0.48% of the entire population. Besides, Ghana with a population of about 25 million, has a public service of 500,000 (2%), while South Africa with a population of about 52 million has a public workforce of about 1.3 million (2.5%).”
ASCSN also recalled that when Barack Obama assumed office as President of the United States of America in 2008, the economy was in doldrums but noted that within a short period of time, he reinvigorated the economy, not by retrenching workers, by creating millions of new jobs using realistic monetary cum robust fiscal policies.
“We, therefore, urge the government to continue on the path of blocking leakages in the economy, reduce corruption in the system so as to boost its revenue profile to enable it fulfill its electoral promises to the people.
“It should also be stated that for every one employed Nigerian, there are on the average more than twelve dependants and as such, every step should be taken to protect jobs and not to increase unemployment and its attendant adverse effects, poverty inclusive on the citizens,” the union added.