Federal Government yesterday bemoaned its rising wage bill, disclosing that emoluments of public servants have hit N1.8 trillion from N857 billion in 2009.
It also announced that the number of public servants in the employ of the Federal Government had risen to 1.2 million.
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed this at a tripartite meeting held at the instance of the House Committee on Health.
The meeting was targeted at finding an end to the ongoing nationwide strike by Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
The minister was represented by the Director General, Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu. She lamented the resort to strike by public servants, describing it as unhealthy.
On the high wage bill, the minister traced the development to the 2009 salary relativity and salary increment.
She cautioned that the rising wage bill, if not checked, could compound the problem of unemployment and lead to further neglect of capital projects .
The meeting however, ended in a deadlock as the leadership of NMA resisted persuasions by the House of Representatives to suspend the strike, insisting that the union would do so when its demands were met. The striking doctors, led by the acting NMA President, Dr. Titus Ibekwe, after the over six-hour meeting, assured that the strike would be suspended on the condition that two months arrears of the salaries would be paid within 14 days and continued payment of the balance in subsequent months.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting , Chairman, House Committee on Health, Ndudi Elumelu, pledged that his committee would not conceded to any act that could contravene the 2014 Appropriation Act.
Elumelu, who called for truce between both parties, also warned Federal Government’s team against aggravating the crisis, stressing that the meeting was conveyed to end the strike by offering minimal requirements that the NMA delegation would tender at the next meeting.
Credit: Sun News online