Following the commencement of the indefinite strike action embarked on by the Organised labour, The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris has restated his commitment to pay salaries of all workers on the Federal Government payroll in spite of the on-going Labour strike.
Mr. Ahmed Idris gave this commitment today while speaking to Newsmen at the Treasury House in Abuja. “ We have a standing order from Mr. President to pay workers salaries from the 25th of every month, which we have striven hard to fulfill to Nigerian workers and this month will not be an exception” maintained the AGF.
He however said that the payment of salaries cannot be achieved in an atmosphere where the critical stakeholders are not allowed access to their offices. “I must explain that salary payment involves a number of processes that do not begin and end with the OAGF. There are other critical stakeholders like the Cash Management Department in Ministry of Finance and others who are supposed to do their beat before we can finalise”, Mr Idris said.
“On coming to the office this morning we met the gates of the office locked and wondered how we can keep this promise if we are being locked out of the office. After speaking with the local arm of the Labour in the office on the need to pay salaries, they conceded to allow me and some of my staff in but the Gates are still locked. I therefore appeal to labour to open our gates so that we can have unhindered access to meet their needs”.
The AGF further appealed to the National Leadership of Labour to reconsider their stand on the on-going strike saying that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari more than ever has demonstrated high commitment towards meeting the welfare of the Nigerian Workers.
He therefore enumerated some of the very salient actions the present Government has so far undertaken to improve the welfare of the workers to include the following:
i. the payment of over N50 billion for Promotion arrears from 2012 – 2016;
ii. the approval of another N60 Biilion for the payment of Salary Arrears with effect from 2011 -2016;
iii. the President’s recent approval of N22.68 Billion for the payment of pension Arrears to the retirees of the defunct Nigeria Airways workers which has been outstanding for over 14 years;
iv. the President’s approval of N20 billion to meet ASSU’s demand for infrastructure development in both Federal and State Universities;
v. the Federal Government policy of Non-retrenchment of workers ;
vi. Provision of jobs for the teaming Nigerian unemployed youths, especially: the recruitment of over 10,000 Policemen; recruitment by the Army, Navy and Air force; recruitment by the para-military such as the Fire Service, Immigration, Nigeria Prison Service , Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps;
vii. Appointment into Various Ministries, Departments and Agencies;
viii. the payment of salaries to Federal Government Workers as at when due, as well as promotion of workers as at when due.
Mr Idris therefore urged Labour to trust Mr. President and return to the path of discussion, and negotiation, as the President has demonstrated enough commitment by setting up the tripartite committee. The committee which is headed by Ms Amal Pepple is saddled with the responsibility of consulting widely with stakeholders with a view to coming up with a realistic and acceptable minimum wage.
He further cautioned that “ we are all working for the same system and we should do nothing that could threaten the economy and lead to the collapse of the same system”
It will be recalled that the AGF had at the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting (FAAC), on Wednesday 26th September, promised that salaries of Federal Government Workers will be paid.
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