12 February 2018

Nigeria: Despite Poor Revenue Base - Civil Servants in Benue, Kogi, Plateau Among Highest Paid

Senior civil servants in Benue, Kogi, and Plateau states are among the highest paid in the country despite their low revenue generation profile, Daily Trust investigations have shown.

The annual total wage bills of the three states are also high compared to the local revenues they generate.

The three states generated less than N10 billion each as IGR in 2016, according to official data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nearly all the states in the country were weighed down by huge salaries and wages bills to the detriment of development projects.

The situation worsened with the dwindling oil revenues as more than two-thirds of the states could not pay workers' salaries even with the federally-accrued revenue shared to them every month.

The situation remained unchanged even after a majority of them resorted to securing loans, apart from their IGR, federal allocation, as well as the tranches of bailout approved for them by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Huge budgets for salaries

A recent report by this newspaper showed that more than half of the N17.5 trillion total budgets of the federal and state governments will be spent on salaries and overheads this year.

Analysis of the budgets revealed that of the N17.5 trillion, N9.35 trillion will go for recurrent expenses, leaving only N8.17trillion for power, roads, rail and other development projects.

Breakdown of the 2018 estimates shows that the federal government is spending N8.61 trillion, with personnel salaries, overheads, statutory transfers and debt servicing guzzling N5.96 trillion, leaving N2.65 trillion for capital projects.

The 36 states have a total budget of N8.95 trillion. The sum of N5.52 trillion is for capital and the N3.39 trillion for recurrent.

In 2016 for instance, 30 states of the federation generated a cumulative internal revenue just enough to settle one-third of their workers' salaries and allowances.

According to published NBS data, the 30 states reviewed, minus Lagos, generated N515.61 billion internal revenues or one-third of the N1.479 trillion they spend on workers remuneration annually.

Despite this apparent fiscal difficulty, very few states are ready to downsize their bloated workforce for fear of political backlash from the public and labour unions particularly as the country moves into another round of elections next year.

States with huge salary, low revenue

Benue state is paying its director N280, 000 monthly, deputy director (N210, 000) and assistant director (N155,000). The state generated N9.5 billion as IGR in 2016.

The state is also spending N94.8 billion annually as salaries for its 44,000 workers, the third in the country, after Kano and Rivers states.

Plateau state is monthly paying its directors (N236, 456), deputy directors (N186, 420), and assistant directors (N125, 862); despite its poor internally generated revenue base of N9.5billion as of 2016. Plateau is spending N20.4 billion annually on a total workforce of 21, 000.

Kogi state generated N9.57 billion in 2016, according to the NBS data, but it is paying its directors N230,172, deputy directors N181,106, and assistant directors N131,504. The state is spending N30 billion on its 13,080 workers every year.

States with huge salaries, huge revenue

Lagos with the biggest economic base in the country, generated three-digit IGR of N302.42 billion in 2016, and it pays its directors N347,733, deputy directors N182,253, and assistant directors N147,318 per month. It is spending N72 billion annually to pay its 100,433 workers.

The oil-rich Rivers state is paying directors N285, 000, deputy directors N265, 000, and assistant directors N230, 000. It is spending N100.8 billion on its 25, 000 workers every year. It generated N85.29 billion in 2016, according to NBS data.

Kano, the most populous state in the country, is generating N30.96 billion annually, while its directors get a monthly salary of N150,000, deputy directors N98,000 and assistant directors N98, 000. It is also the state in the country with the highest wage bill, spending N110.4 billion annually to pay 160, 000 workers.

States with moderate salaries, poor revenue

In Katsina state, an assistant director receives N88, 547 monthly; a deputy director, N121, 538 while a director gets N150, 174 per month.

However, in some ministries like the judiciary, there are some little adjustments with a director receiving between N285,879 and N372,562.

Katsina state spends N60 billion annually on its 39,775 workers, even though it generated only N5.5 billion in 2016 as internal revenue.

Kebbi state is paying a director N136,000, deputy director N103,000, and assistant director N80, 000 every month, even though it generated only N3.13 billion in 2016.

Kaduna state pays a director N106, 000 monthly, deputy director N86,000 and assistant director N66,000. It spends N26.4 billion every year on its 100,000 workers. The 2016 NBS data shows that the state generated N17.5 billion.

Additional reporting by Habibu Umar Aminu (Katsina), Lami Sadiq (Jos), Andrew Agbese & Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna), Hope Abah (Makurdi), Daniel Itodo Sule (Lokoja), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Ismail Adebayo (Birnin Kebbi), Ibrahim Musa Giginyu & Richard P. Ngbokai (Kano), & Nuruddeen Oyewole (Lagos).

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