Asst News Editor
ASSOCIATION of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps and pay thousands of Federal Civil Servants their outstanding salaries and allowances in order to stimulate the economy.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, emphasised that if the Administration of President Muhammdu Buhari proceeded to pay arrears of salaries and allowances including promotion arrears owed thousands of Federal Civil Servants, their purchasing powers would surely increase.
“This is the right time to act. The Government should therefore not waste the opportunity.
“We believe that since these Federal Civil Servants and their dependants live in different parts of the country, if these outstanding entitlements are paid to them, it will have positive ripple effects on the economy and douse the tension in the land.
“There is anger and hunger in the country and as a patriotic trade union organisation, we have decided to bring this deplorable situation to the notice of Government so that it can take necessary measures to stem the tide by doing the needful,” the Union stressed.
The ASCSN wondered why the Federal Government that dole out N713.7 billion to states to pay arrears of salaries and allowances to their workers had refused to settle similar debt owed its own employees even when a committee it set up to compute the outstanding liabilities completed its assignment and submitted its report to the Presidency more than 10 months ago.
It lamented that a bag of rice now sold for N19,000 to N20,000 per bag more than the N18,000 monthly National Minimum Wage; a gallon of kerosine costs N1,200 from about N400 few months ago and the price of petrol was increased from N87.50 to N145 per litre.
“Generally, while the cost of goods and services has continued to rise astronomically, salaries of workers have remained static and these are not even paid in some states for the past six months.
“Since the welfare of the people is the main reason why Government exists, we wish to advise that the Federal Government should look beyond political party affiliation and other primordial affinity and assemble patriotic experts, who abound in Nigeria, to chart the way forward for the economy,” the Union emphasised.
According to the ASCSN, if the economic hardship continued without the Government addressing it, the impression would be created that the Government was insensitive to the plight of the citizens or that it was deliberately impoverishing them.
It advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow the goodwill that brought him to power to be easily eroded and so soon.