The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Tuesday decried the daily rise in the wage bill of the Federal Government and declared that it rose by 150 per cent between 2015 and 2020.
Ahmed, who disclosed this during the public presentation of the 2021 budget, also insisted that the Federal Government would not pay the salary of any member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities not enrolled on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
She said, “You can see from the presentation that I made, in 2015 the wage bill of the government, the salaries of government officials stood at N1.5tn. That has gone up by 150 per cent in what we have in 2020.
“And the wage bill keeps growing on a daily basis. That is the biggest expenditure in our budget and we must pay special attention to it to be able to make sure that at least what we are paying is reasonable, true and fair.”
Ahmed said Nigerians should judge in the matter between the Federal Government and ASUU relating to the enrollment of government employees on IPPIS.
She said the agitations of oil some workers who had earlier opposed the IPPIS were understandable and being addressed, but wondered why ASUU had failed to shift grounds on the matter.
The finance minister said deductions done by the personnel system such as tax deductions were legal, adding that the President had ordered all public servants to be captured on the payroll system.
She said, “If I may remind you, in October 2019 when the President presented the budget to the National Assembly, he said that by the end of October any staff who is not on IPPPIS should not be paid salary.
“So we waited October, January, February before we finally stopped giving excuses and actually stopped the salaries of those not on IPPIS. What is special about this (ASUU) people?”
Ahmed added, “If we can capture some tertiary institutions and hospitals who have some peculiarities, what is different about the university system that they cannot be captured?
“But we are discussing and I understand that today (Tuesday), we have a meeting to be regulated by the National Assembly.
“However the bottom line for us is that there has to be a biometric capture of every person that is being paid by the funds of government.”
She said some universities claimed to be independent, adding that “yes they are, in a manner of speaking. But the salaries are paid by government.
“You can only claim independence if you can generate your revenue and pay your salary.”