The Justifiable Delays of Salary Payments in Katsina State – By Mustafa Lawal
Let me start by saying am a civil servant working with Katsina State Civil Service. Let’s also note that today is the 5th day of the month of April 2020 and I’m yet to collect my March 2020 salary hence, I’m every bit a casualty of the delay in salary payments in Katsina State. However, unlike many public commentators, I’m taking the delay in good faith and not just for patriotism but for clear understanding of necessity that gave birth to the problem.
Recently Katsina State is inundated with lamentations of mostly hired mercenaries and merchants of propaganda masquerading as concerned civil servants but whom time will expose as foot soldiers of the gang of marauders whose savagery against brought about the irresponsible and clearly unsustainable wage bill which necessitates the drastic measures taken to cleanse the state’s payroll of ghost workers and sundry malfeasances.
Halting and reversing corruption and corrupt tendencies always attracts heavy resistance. Corruption always fights back and that’s just what’s happening in Katsina State.
At the moment, the Office of the Accountant General is working hard to “isolate and quarantine” dubious salary accounts through which millions of Naira is being channeled into the bottomless pockets of a thieving gang operating with nothing in their minds but the sustainability of their unearned life of obscene opulence.
It’s quite understandable if these marauders spare no effort to distract the office of the Accountant General from this onerous responsibility while concurrently confusing the public just to hide their criminalities.
What the Accountant General is doing is very normal and reasonable. It’s better to endure 2 or 3 months of discomfort than to overlook a sustained assault on the finances of Katsina State that may lead the state to bankruptcy and permanent penury and anguish. States that cannot their wage bills didn’t just wake up with the disability.
It’s a result of overlooked financial savagery similar to what Katsina State Accountant General is battling to subdue. We should expect no silence from the jackals feeding fat on the treasury while pretending to be holy (holiness of the devil if you like).
In collaboration with the office of the Auditor General, there’s an ongoing review of Katsina State’s payroll and so far, huge amounts are being saved that were being paid ghost and illegal workers. In some cases I was reliably informed of housewives and infants discovered to be on the state’s payroll, inserted by dubious officials whose idea of Katsina State’s development is one and the same with their personal developments.
There is no disputing the fact some workers are having problems with their salaries as I asserted earlier when I indicated I’m also a victim. However, it’s a great consolation, even laudable, that the hardship is temporary and it’s for the goodness and economic sustainability of my state.
I’m also consoled that this effort is aimed at protecting the interest of the voiceless masses of Katsina State given that Government detect and punish fraud because the casualties of fraud are always the less privilege the downtrodden. In addition, this is a laudable effort to restore professionalism and confidence into the Civil Service.
Close and distant observers will attest to the fact that Katsina State Ministry of Finance is decrepit and overdue for a system overhaul which only a determined and highly professional leader could initiate and execute.
The present Accountant General is a determined and committed citizen of Katsina who could be said to be a “native of the Ministry of Finance” hence, amply qualified to know its problems and professionally competent to provide the needed solutions to cure it of the prolonged assaults it suffered. Assuredly he is well equipped to confront the expected stubbornness that will be deployed to thwart his efforts.
Rather than be distracted by childish campaigns aimed at tarnishing his image, we should be happy and supportive that he’s not only in charge but clearly ready to be fully and positively in charge. Undoubtedly, he’s one who can damn the consequences and do the right thing no matter whose ox is gored.
People need to understand the dicey situation and support the ongoing reforms while praying for its success. The biggest challenge is that of of attitudes and perceptions.
These will remain as barrier to success until patriotic people with the love of the state in their mind smash those barriers and help develop new public sector narratives. The good thing though, political will is the key to the success of this ambition and the man at the helm has it in abundance.