Federal civil servants across the country are grumbling over the delay in payment of their December 2023 salaries.
They said it was sad they marked Christmas yesterday without money, a development that affected their families, especially those who had no savings.
Many of those who spoke to our correspondent lamented that they did not celebrate Christmas in line with tradition of merriments, heavy cooking, and visitations.
Findings revealed that all the workers in federal ministries, some in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHoCSF), and others in Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) said the development was unexpected.
It was learnt that the situation was the same with federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and associated federal institutions all over the country.
Sources said only workers in revenue generating agencies like NNPC, NPA, NIMASA, NCC, CBN, FIRS, among many others got their salaries for December.
In separate interviews with Daily Trust, the distraught workers lamented the inability of the government to pay their salaries, especially in the Christmas celebration season.
“Despite the general misgivings about previous administrations, I cannot remember anytime our December salaries were delayed,” one of the workers said.
“With the way things are ‘tough’ in the country, we don’t even have savings. We were excited when they announced a 50 per cent discount on transportation, but sadly despite the support many people could not travel ahead of Christmas.
“How can we travel and enjoy the so called 50 per cent transport reduction, when we don’t have monies in our pockets?” another civil servant asked.
Others who spoke to Daily Trust said that the delay would have a negative impact on their celebration and even in January when the schools would have resumed.
A lecturer at the University of Abuja said he was not happy.
“How can you be happy when you cannot make your family happy at this auspicious occasion?” she asked.
I cannot really comprehend where the problem lies, the government should come out and explain the real problem. The minimum expectation of a civil servant is to have his salary paid even if it is nothing to write home about,” he said.
“Some years back, apart from salary, some categories of workers get 13th Month bonus, others get all kinds of interventions to support them at the end of the year and encourage them to do better next year. May we witness those moments again,” he said.
Another lecturer said failure to pay salaries by this administration is an indictment.
“There is no excuse whatsoever, to say the truth. They removed the subsidy, they said they have been saving monies since June. This is over six months but we rarely get our salaries before the end of the month.
“I got my November salary in the second week of December. Now that it is the end of the year and it is the Christmas season, we thought they would pay us around the 20th or 22nd. Sadly, they did not…We only went to church, returned home and we are waiting for the public holiday to end so that we can continue with our life,” he said.
A teacher at the Federal Government Girls College, Bajoga, Gombe State, said it was a dull Christmas.
“I managed and bought one chicken for the children, but we thank God for life. We are yet to get our December salary and that is how we celebrated our Christmas. Our prayer is that they should pay us before the end of the month so that we can put a smile on the faces of our children ahead of New Year,” the teacher said.