From Judex Okro, Calabar
cross River State workers have protested vehemently the payment of May salaries a few weeks earlier than expected.
Governor Ben Ayade on assumption of office made salary payments one of his administration’s cardinal objectives and had followed it with payment of May salary on May Day.
But this year, workers in the state got their May salary on April 30, on the eve of May Day, few days after April salary was paid. This was against workers and labour advice.
Protesting the early payment of May salary, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), John Ushie, said: “We have advised the governor not to be paying salaries like this but he insisted. May be it is his own way of showing that he cares for the people. He feels he should make the life of the people better and he has expressed this by paying a month salary in advance
“We believe that salaries should be paid for work done but since he has gone ahead to pay, we can only advise workers to be prudent. He did the same thing last year, but we did not expect he will do the same thing again because he just finished paying April salaries. That is the situation on ground.”
Also, Nigeria Union of Teachers Chairman, Eyo-Nsa Itam, said: “I think it is a tradition. We did not expect it yesterday. We expected it today. But you know because of the economic strain, there may be suffering, if people are not careful. It means people would work for two months without receiving salaries, because the governor just paid salaries last week. Within one week, he has paid two months salaries. So, it is a good development, but the impact would be hectic.
“To me, the salary should have been paid religiously as it had been paid on or before 25th of every month so that people can plan. The more money you see, the more your expenditure would be.
“Assuming you are earning N100,000 and you are paid for two months, which is N200,000 within one week, you find out that you will finish spending that money and the next month, you will be living on debt. This issue of paying two salaries, within one week is what we are talking about because it would definitely affect people.”
A civil servant, Blessing Asuquo, who also protested the early salary said: “The payment came too early in the day and does not create room for planning. For instance, some of us borrowed money from bank and the banks take their money at once and it affects us negatively towards the end of the month and this does not really augur well for us.”
Corroborating, Daniel Kingsley of the state Ministry of Environment, said: “Once they are paid they start spending it and before you know some staff who took loans from banks will be over debited when early payment is made. This creates problems for some of us. This is why I personally prefer payments being done later in the month.”