Wage bill of the Federal Government increased by 150 percent between 2015 and 2020, according to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
The Minister revealed this on Tuesday during the public presentation of the 2021 budget.
“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,” she said.
The minister who lamented the rise in the wage bill, maintained that the government would not pay the salary of any Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) member not registered on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Ahmed believed the agitations of some oil workers who had earlier resisted the adoption of the IPPIS were reasonable, but felt ASUU should embrace 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 IPPIS should not be paid salary.
“So we waited October, January, and February before we finally stopped giving excuses and actually stopped the salaries of those not on IPPIS. What is special about these (ASUU) people?”
“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.”
Concerning universities laying claim to independence, the Minister said: “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.”