The Senate on Thursday took a swipe at the Federal Government of Nigeria for slamming embargo on employment even as recurrent expenditure continues to soar annually.
This was happening as Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), threatened to leave the country if relevant authorities fail to put things in order to diffuse the ticking time bomb.
Senate’s disposition against the embargo on employment and yearly rise in recurrent expenditure component of budget, was prompted by submissions made by the Chairman of National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Mr Ekpo Nta before the Senate Committee on Establishment.
The inability of Nta to tell the committee the total amount of salaries and wages Federal Government pays its workforce yearly, infuriated many members of the committee who wondered why recurrent expenditure in yearly budget is not decreasing on account of embargo placed on employment and retirements at the various agencies.
Senator Ndume in taking up the NSIWC Boss, said he supposed to know the total wage bill of the Federal government workers in arresting the dangerous trend of increases in yearly recurrent expenditure component of the budget without new recruitments and even with retirement of workers on yearly basis.
“Honestly speaking, time bomb is ticking out there with this policy because of the doors shut out against millions of youths seeking for employment through the embargo
“Making it worrisome is the fact that despite the policy, since 2018 till now, recurrent expenditure components of yearly budget have been increasing.
“In 2018, it was N3.5trillion, N4trillion in 2019, N4.5trillion in 2020, N5.6trillion 2021 and N6.83trillion in the projected N16.39trillion 2022 budget.
“It is bad for recurrent expenditure to be increasing on yearly basis without increase in the number of workforce through required recruitments.
“The embargo is turning to a time bomb that can explode at any time as witnessed in some countries in recent past.
“Personally, I’m already thinking of where to run to if the avoidable crisis is not averted. I visited Ghana and Niger recently in this regard”.
Other members of the committee like Suleiman Kwari (APC Kaduna North), Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP Ondo Central) and the Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Shekarau (APC Kano North), aligned themselves with Ndume’s admonition.
The Chairman of the Committee, directed the Salaries and Wages Commission Chairman to liaise with the Accountant General of the federation and other management officials of IPPIS, for required harmonization in arriving at total amount of salaries /wages federal government pays per annum.
The NSIWC boss had earlier in his presentation, lamented that his agency recruited last in 2008 and that the planned extension of year of service and retirement age for primary and secondary schools teachers, will further shut the door against fresh graduates .
‘The policy seems good but what happened to young graduates with teaching qualification”, he quipped.