By Victor Ahiuma-Young

Lagos—ASSOCIATION of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, yesterday handed down a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay promotion arrears, outstanding salaries and other allowances owed public servants by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs, or risk total shut-down.

Speaking in Lagos,  ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that more than one year after promotion arrears were computed by a Presidential Committee and Report submitted to the Presidency, the government had continued to dilly dally on the payment.

“The issue of unpaid entitlements of workers have remained unattended to for some years now and was, indeed, brought to the attention of the President, Muhammadu Buahri, sometime ago for necessary action.

‘’Thereafter, a circular was issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation directing all MDAs to compile the total sum involved in respect of the unpaid entitlements of their employees for settlements,’’ he said.

Lawal contended that the debts owed some categories of federal public officers included promotion arrears outstanding in some cases since 2007; 1st 28 days in lieu of hotel accommodation; and Duty Tour Allowance, DTA.

Others are mandatory training allowance for training organised by the Office of the Head of the Federation, OHCSF, in 2010, burial expenses, and repatriation allowances, etc.

He said: “We are using this avenue to alert the general public that the nation may be witnessing series of industrial actions in the public service if no concrete steps are taken to commence the payment of this indebtedness.

‘’The general feeling among workers is that it is not prepared at all to pay what it owes them and that its only interest is to pay what it owes contractors.

‘’Moreover, the Federal Government had bailed out state governments more than three times in the past one year, including the recent one, courtesy of the loan refund from the Paris Club, to be able to settle their workers’ entitlements.

‘’The same Federal Government has decided to leave its own workers in the cold for no just reason.  This is strange.”

Lawal demanded that the Federal Government immediately commenced the process of paying those debts with the sum provided for under the virement arrangement to the affected workers  to convince all and sundry that the government meant well for its employees.

He insisted that the balance of the indebtedness should be captured in the 2017 budget estimate so that payment could be made in the course of the year without necessarily going through the virement process again,

“As we speak, no provision has been made for this all important unpaid entitlements of workers in the 2017 budget estimate,’’ he said.

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