After what appeared to be good news for Nigeria’s Federal Government workers, it is not hunky-dory after all as Ahmed Idris, Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that federal workers be paid on the 25th of every month was not possible, because there was no cash to pay on that date every month.
This would come as a surprise to Federal Government workers as it was for Idris, who disclosed this on Wednesday to journalists in Abuja.
He said, paying salary on the 25th of every month would “be given a test, I believe, by this month.”
“There is a standing instruction of Mr. President to pay salary on or before the 24th or 25th of every month and we will try as much as possible to comply and to abide by that.
“We are taking a step further to make a provision whereby we can accommodate salary payments even before FAAC.
“We will go to seek for necessary approval of our political masters to make sure that at least salary and other statutory payments are made even before FAAC.
“Because we can project how much they are and therefore we can prepare and hit the ground running to make them realisable and actualized.
“Even where we delay FAAC, we can still pay salary,” he said.
However, in a swift about-face, a statement by Mrs Kene Offie, Deputy Director of Press, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, said: “There is an instruction from Mr. President that workers be paid on or before 24 or 25, but compliance has been hampered by the limited resources available to government, which can only be determined after the monthly FAAC (Federation Account Allocation Committee) meeting.”
The Federal Government has failed to meet its salary obligations, blaming the situation on falling oil prices at the international market.
And the AGF gave vent to this view after last week’s FAAC meeting when he opined that, “Nigeria is practically making about 30 to 40 per cent of what it used to make by way of revenue from oil and that has affected inflow generally.
“These inflows are what the federal, state and local governments receive to service the economy.
“It is when we receive these resources and sit at the end of the month for FAAC that the resources are shared among the three tiers of government,” he said.