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Tougher Times Await Plateau Workers


July 25, (THEWILL) – There is heightened fear among civil servants on the payroll of the Plateau State Government that the challenges facing them, in terms of payment of salaries, may worsen as the fiscal process heads into the last and final quarter.

With civil servants in the state yet to be paid three months’ salaries, many workers believe that by December 2022, salaries arrears would have accumulated for up to six months.

There is also the fear that the Simon Lalong Administration will leave several months’ salaries and pensions unpaid as its tenure expires by May 2023.

A civil servant at the JD Gomwalk Secretariat lamented the miserable condition of civil servants in Plateau, noting that the state’s finances had been mismanaged to a point that the state had gone bankrupt, yet the Lalong administration did not want to declare its true status for political reasons.

According to sources in the Plateau State Civil Service, sometimes the state government used instruments, such as bank overdrafts, to secure financial facilities to pay some ministries and agencies, to the effect that while some Civil Servants are being owed for three months, some are already in the fourth month of unpaid salaries.

With a lot of loans and huge indebtedness standing against the Government, an administrative officer in one of the Ministries said the transformation of the NNPC from a corporation to a limited liability company obviously has dire implications for the federation account and monthly allocation, but the implications for Plateau State will be sooner and acute because the State is already vulnerable.

According to sources in the Service, many Ministries, departments, and agencies have been operating without overheads and imprest cost, leading to shortage of stationeries and other office logistics, and that this already created apathy among staff before the trend of unpaid salaries crept in to kill staff morale and motivation.

Complaints of lack of imprest for overheads and running cost are also responsible for depleted enthusiasm and sluggish response to work in the deputy Governor’s office, a situation that became worse as the Deputy Governor, Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, dared the Governor and his cabal by contesting against the Governor’s candidate in a controversial Gubernatorial primary which outcome is still being disputed.

Some of the workers observed that the State’s debt profile in the past four years has been riding as a result of bonds and loans and other fiduciary facilities, and that State’s financial status got worse with the tempo of political activities and electioneering culminating in Gubernatorial congresses and presidential convention.

A Director in the State Civil Service noted that the incident of executive approvals without corresponding releases from the Ministry of Finance or office of the Accountant General has been too common and recurrent under Governor Simon Lalong, saying under no regime in the State in recent history has organizational politics been elevated above due governmental process and execution of policies and programmes.