From Aminu Dalhatu

Kaduna State government says it has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the state public Service.

A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye says in November 2020 the State only got N4.83bn from Federation Account Allocations Committee (FAAC) and paid N4.66bn as wages, stressing that, only N162.9m was left after paying salaries.

According to the statement, the state public finances have been severely stretched by the higher wage bills at a time when revenues from the (FAAC) have not increased.

It says the government was elected not just to pay salaries of public servants but to promote equality of opportunity, build and run schools and hospitals, upgrade infrastructure, make the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.

While justifying the job cut, the statement however described it ‘’as a painful but necessary step to take for the sake of the majority of the people of the state.

It argues that, the public service with less than 100,000 employees and their families cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to impact the lives of more than 9 million that are not political appointees or civil servants.

The statement also said It was gross injustice for such a micro-minority to consume majority of the state’s resources, adding that the measures took to cope with Covid-19 pandemic showed the public service required fewer persons than it currently employs.

‘’ The public service is an important institution, and it should therefore maintain only an optimum size. Faced with a difficult situation, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it cannot refuse to act in ways that only conduce to populist sentiment, without solving the fundamental problem,’’it states.

Similarly, the Special Adviser noted that the rationalisation exercise would also affect political appointees, to save funds and ensure a strong and efficient public service exists to use those resources to implement progressive programmes and projects for the people, and thereby develop the state.’’

It could be recalled that ‘’in September 2019, Kaduna State Government became the first government in the country to pay the new minimum wage of thirty thousand naira and consequential adjustments.

The statement further revealed that, the step to advance the welfare of workers significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments.

‘’While the Kaduna State Government believes that public sector wages overall are still relatively low, their current levels are obviously limited by the resources available to the government,’’ the statement argued.