Governor Nasir El Rufai has said Kaduna state has started implementing its rightsizing policy by disengaging 99 political appointees, but is yet to disengage any state civil servant.
The governor disclosed that only agencies connected to the local government system have disengaged staff and these include the 23 local government councils, SUBEB and the Primary Health Care Board.
El-Rufai who made the disclosure at a media chat with some Kaduna-based broadcast journalists on Thursday night, explained that the disengaged political appointees constitute 30% of political office holders.
‘’So far, 99 political appointees have lost their jobs but we have not commenced rightsizing civil servants. We want to be fair with regards to civil servants. We had earlier promised that before we reduce the size of the civil service, we will start with political appointees and we have done that,’’ he said.
The governor who spoke in Hausa, said that the rightsizing of civil servants will still go on as planned because of dwindling revenues that is accruing to the state government from the federation account.
El Rufai explained that the rightsizing commenced with political appointees because their details are clearly known, making it more straightforward to disengage them.
‘’However, civil servants with question marks on the veracity of their data have to be given a chance to clear the doubts before any action is taken on them,’’ he clarified.
The governor said that his government has employed 11,000 more workers in the health sector, Kaduna State University as well as primary and secondary school teachers across the state.
The governor disclosed that it is a fallacy to allege that the salaries of political appointees account for the bloated personnel cost of Kaduna State Government.
‘’In March 2021, the salaries of these political appointees amounted to N259 million , while civil servants were paid N3.13 billion, aside from costs related to state contributions to pension, accrued rights and other personnel costs. So, it is false to insinuate that political appointees are the ones that guzzle most of the state’s resources,’’ he said.
Justifying the rightsizing of the public service, he said that all states and the federal government are affected by this shortfall of revenue and some states have even reverted to paying the old monthly minimum wage of N18,000.
‘’Kaduna State cannot continue to use 84% to 96% of our revenues to pay salaries of less than 1% of the population. The rest of our people, all 99% of them, need better schools, hospitals, water supply, roads, markets and support for agriculture to make a living outside government,’’ he said.
The governor however promised that Kaduna state will not reverse the N30,000 minimum wage that it has started paying.
“We are the first government, federal or state, to pay the minimum wage. We will retain the minimum wage of N30,000 and the consequential adjustments that gave most of our civil servants a 66% salary increase. We will also retain the minimum pension of N30,000 monthly.
“The unified Local Government Service continues to pay the minimum wage, even though they varied the consequential adjustments for their workers below the level for state civil servants,’’ he added.
The governor also promised that the state will still fund free education from primary 1 to the SS3, adding that ‘’we have directed our Ministry of Education to find ways of ensuring that we sponsor students for WAEC exams, the same way that we sponsor them for NECO. ‘’
El Rufai emphasized that basic education is a priority for Kaduna State Government because ‘’we see it as the bedrock for equality of opportunity.’’
Vanguard News Nigeria