By: Afolabi Oyekunle.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN has faulted the stoppage of payment of gratuity to retired civil servants.
Secretary General of the Association Comrade Joshua Apebo speaking with CityExpress News Editor Afolabi Oyekunle said prior to the Pension Reform Act 2014, civil servants were paid gratuity upon retirement, saying there is a lot of difference between gratuity and pension.
The Secretary General said while the Federal government no longer pay retired civil servants gratuity, politicians who spend only 3 to 4 years in office are paid gratuity while government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Ports Authority, NIMASA still pay gratuity to their retirees.
He said most civil servants receive pension that could not sustain them as a worker who earned about 300thousand naira while in office receive a paltry sum of between 60 to 70thousand naira as pension.
According to him section 173 of the Constitution mandates the government to pay gratuity to her workers as severance package irrespective of the Pension Act.
“If a politician who spends barely 4 years in office is paid gratuity, where is the moral justification to deny a worker who spend 35years in service his gratuity.”
Speaking on this year’s Workers Day on 1st of May, the ASCSN Secretary General said there was nothing special about this year’s event as most workers are battling the crushing economic effects which has eroded their wages and the galloping inflation.
He however called on workers to continue to work hard and pursue all their agitations in peaceful manner.
On Federal government initiative to increase workers pay, Comrade Apebo said what the government wants to pay is not salary increase but peculiar allowances to civil servants. He said civil servants receive lowest in allowance compare to those in health, aviation and other sectors.
He said what the Federal government is paying to civil servants is peculiar allowance and not salary increase.
Comrade Apebo said the current minimum wage was signed into law in April 2019, and by now it should have been reviewed, giving the economic reality in the country.
The ASCSN Secretary General said the incoming administration should set up a committee on review of minimum wage as the current minimum wage of 30thousand naira is not realistic.
According to him when the minimum wage was put into effect the price of petroleum was 65naira but today it is 185naira, the naira was 185naira to the dollar but it is now 700naira, arguing that the economic reality does not favour workers.