Paul Orude, Bauchi
The Bauchi State government has explained the reasons for the deductions of May salary and allowances of thousands of civil servants in the state, a development that has resulted in widespread outcry and condemnation.
Speaking at a press conference held at the NUJ Secretariat Bauchi on Monday, the Director, Establishment, of the Office of the State Head of Service, Isiaka Tijjani, attributed the deductions to what he called human errors.
Tijjani said that the problem arose as a result of problems encountered with the implementation of the World Bank Assisted Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) and the Integrated Financial Information Management System (IFMIS).
He said before the introduction of the policy, the state government met with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and relevant stakeholders, and MDAs on the benefit of the HRMIS and IFMIS in the state civil service.
He explained further that a Human Resource Unit was subsequently set up to address possible complaints that might arise as result of the policy.
He said following the implementation, it affected civil servants in three categories: those who had their salary and allowances deducted, those who were not paid their May salary at all, and those who had problems relating to technical issues.
According to the Director: “We did not envisage that the magnitude of the problem will be as this. What we assumed, we were told, would be minor complaints here and there, but now with this recent development, we are now aware of the problems and we are going to address them.”
The Director, who said that the policy was aimed at blocking financial waste in the civil service, explained that the policy did not affect the actual computed salary of state workers.
“Some of the affected civil servants when we were generating this information, we requested for their nominal role. Some of the MDAs gave us the nominal roles that were not fully updated because some were promoted thereafter and we had to work with what was provided for us. You will discover that, probably in the month of April, the promotion was effected but when we implemented the nominal role that was given to us it was not the one that was updated; it was as if you reverted to your former level. So these were some of the errors that were not intentional, but gives us an opportunity to update some of the shortcomings that we had,” he explained.
Tijjani, tendering an unreserved apology to state workers on behalf of the state government for the hardships they faced as a result of the policy, disclosed that government had taken decisive steps to address the problem.
The Human Resource Unit under his office, he said, has so far received complaints from no fewer than 20 MDAs, including state-owned Abubakar Tatari Polytechnic, over shortfalls in salary and allowances. He assured that the issues would soon be addressed.
In his remark, state NLC chairman Hashimu Gital refuted claims that it was passive since the problem arose.
“Since May salary were being paid, we received various complaints from our members and immediately we received the reports we summoned State Executive Council Meetings for both the NLC and the TUC in Bauchi and delineated on the issues that arose from the payment of salary. We are aware and have been part of the system since its introduction to the time of its implementation. We felt the issues were tackled because we appealed to the government then before the implementation that they have to ensure that casualties are reduced to the barest minimum, and when it was implemented we realised that the outcry from our members was too [much] and we immediately summoned the SEC meeting to see the way forward,” the union leader said.