The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has charged Nigerians not to blame the Federal Government over non-payment of workers. The minister siad this in a statement by the Special Adviser on Communications, Paul Nwabuikwu, while responding to claims by All Progressives Congress’ governors that the negative manner the outgoing Goodluck Jonathan administration was running the economy had made it difficult for them to pay salaries regularly.
Even though there is a shortfall in the monthly revenue coming into the coffers of the government due to a drop in oil prices, which has left most states in the country struggling to pay salaries. The finance minister has insisted that Nigerians should blame the state governments for their inability to pay the salaries of workers stating that the governors were advised through the Federation Accounts Committee to prioritise wage payment.
Okonjo-Iweala said that despite the 50 per cent drop in gross federally collectible revenue, the Federal Government had made the issue of workers’ salaries a top priority in order to ensure that the “people do not feel the negative impact of the revenue drop on the economy.”
For instance, the minister said that contrary to the “misinformation being put forward by certain governors to the effect that federal workers are being owed, staff salaries at the Federal level are up-to-date.” She said in the five paragraph statement that the states, being one of the three tiers of government that receive monthly allocations from the Federation Account, should be blamed for their predicament.
The statement read, “This is to clarify the misinformation put forward by certain governors to the effect that Federal workers are being owed salaries.
“This is incorrect. Staff salaries at the Federal level are up-to-date; workers have received their April salaries.
“Regarding difficulties in salary payments, certain governors are trying to blame the Federal Government for their predicament. This is wrong. They had been told through the FAAC to prioritise salaries but they chose not to do so, hence the backlog that some states are experiencing.
“The 50 per cent drop in revenues simply means that salaries should be prioritised. The Federal Government should not be blamed for avoidable mistakes made at the state level.”