By Chioma Nnodim
Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, workers have dismissed as fake news making the rounds that FCT Minister, Barr Nyesom Wike, cut their October salaries.
The over 8000 workers clarified that, contrary to the fake and malicious news item trending on social media platform that the Minister has slashed staff salaries for October, the Minister has done no such thing.
They called on the public to disregard the fake social media publication with the headline: “Workers in Nigeria’s Capital, Abuja groan as Wike cuts salaries, allowances amid inflation.”
The staff who spoke through President of the FCTA Joint Unions Action Committee, JUAC, Comrade Matilukuro Muyideen Oluwakorede over the weekend, assured they do not have anything against the Minister of FCT becuase there were no salary cuts.
Meanwhile, he expressed staff delight over Wike’s unprecedented achievements recorded in barely two months of resumption, some of which include establishment of the long awaited FCT Civil Service Commission, exit from the Treasury Single Account, TSA,as well as mobilization of contractors to various projects sites across the city.
“The public should disregard the information in circulation. it is not emanating from us. We have an internal issue; we had a meeting and agreed on the best way to manage the issue.”
“We have nothing to do with what is trending online currently. We love our Minister. We don’t have any issue against him as at this moment that I am talking to you, and I wish to be quoted anywhere,” Oluwakorede cleared.
Revealing that though JUAC had fought for some allowances, he however explained that such allowances were not budgeted for in the 2023 budget.
He identified the allowances as peculiar allowance, hazard allowance, and “one or two other allowances like that.”
The JUAC President stressed that the allowances overshot FCTA and FCDA personnel budget, in view of which the FCTA management called the leadership of the Committee and the two parties agreed that the remaining funds in the vault be used to pay October salary but may affect peculiar allowances.
“We realised that the little fund remaining may affect peculiar allowance, and we say we don’t mind stepping it down by one month, while the FCT Administration does the needful against the remaining months. So that by November, we return to normalcy. So, I don’t know why journalists are just cashing out on this.
“But I wish to say unequivocally, that we don’t have any problem with our Minister or the Minister of State or even the Permanent Secretary of FCTA.
“We are in good relationship and this decision that we have taken, is for the best interest of staff generally,” he assured.
It will be recalled that the JUAC leadership had on Friday issued a circular, signed by its President and General Secretary, Mr Akuh Sunday, intimating their members on salary shortfall for October.
JUAC explained in the circular that FCTA and FCDA management had asked the committee to sensitise all staff on the inability to pay salary of all staff in the month of October.
The development, it said, was because FCTA personnel budget vote has been exhausted following the payment of the 40 per cent peculiar allowance, hazard allowance and other allowances.
The committee, however, noted that the payment of the allowance in some Departments, Secretariat and Agencies were not budgeted for.
“In view of the above, JUAC insisted that instead of not paying salary at all in October, management should handle the matter in this manner.
“First, the October salary be paid without the peculiar allowance, which is what the current personnel cost vote can carry.
“Secondly, between now and November, virement will be made to transfer funds from other votes to beef up the personnel cost vote to enable management to pay November Salary in full.
“In addition, the arrears for the peculiar allowance of October will be paid in November alongside the arrears for the N35,000 wage award.
“JUAC agreed to these terms because it believes that this is the best bargain and decision that it could take in the best interest of the entire staff of FCTA and FCDA, given the current situation we have found ourselves.”