At first, it was a rumour. Then, the rumor became stronger. And then, the rumour became political allegation that the federal and state governments could no longer pay salaries because public funds were deployed by the two major political parties to prosecute the 2015 general elections.
Today, the situation has become a national embarrassment that Nigeria cannot pay its civil servants-from federal government to state governments. While actual figures of the total indebtedness at the federal and state levels is difficult to ascertain, various media reports quoted N110 billion as the total sum due to the unfortunate government employees.
The simple question that seeks for urgent answer is: does it mean that the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, largest crude producer and exporter in Africa and largest economy in Africa ($520bn-2014), cannot afford N110 billion to pay salaries of civil servants in the nation?
The reality of the current situation is that Nigeria is broke! But Nigeria is not broke because of lack of resources or money. Nigeria is broke due to sheer mismanagement and criminal conduct of certain elements in positions of authority across the three tiers of government.
Today, the latest news is that even the National Assembly, the envy of many Nigerians, not in terms of legislative prowess, but rather, the bloated size of their purse, is also borrowing money to pay Our Dear Senators and House of Reps members. While we were trying to make sense of the news, it was also reported that states were begging for bailout from the federal government to offset the rising salary arrears and probably, meet current obligations.
We call on the Federal Government to urgently convene a stakeholders’ forum to examine the situation and find a way out of the problem.
Secondly, it will not be out of place for the federal government to instruct the security and anti-graft agencies to investigate how the billions of dollars earned by the nation over the years were spent and on what. The Change mantra that brought this administration into office should also reflect on how the resources of the nation were managed in the recent past, even now and the future.
Finally, we hope the solution to the cash crunch would be found as soon as possible and save the nation from further controversies on the issue.