Civil Servants in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have called on the Federal Government to be proactive and more sensitive to the plight of Nigerians in the new year.
They voiced their opinions in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday,
The civil servants, who spoke on their expectations from the Federal government in 2024, recall that 2023 ended with the inflation rate hitting 28.20 per cent.
They particularly recalled that food inflation hit 32.84 per cent in November 2023 as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS).
NBS also reported an increase in the prices of cooking gas, kerosene, diesel and petrol.
Abdulrahman Musa, a civil servant, said he expected the government to be proactive in addressing the economic situation in the country.
“The government needs to do more. Government should create programmes that can help the masses in the economy.
“Civil servants want the minimum wage implemented. The N35,000 wage awards should be regular and arrears paid to the civil servants so that they can meet their responsibilities,” he said.
Tosin Komolafe, a civil servant, said the federal government must be proactive to address the economic situation in the country.
“Inflation has become unbearable. Nigerians are suffering and civil servants are finding it more difficult to cope. A lot of civil servants rely on loans to survive.
“This is January. It is a month of school fees, house rent, utility bills.
“Government needs to provide soft loans and give civil servants grants.
“Civil servants should have access to housing schemes run by the housing ministry.”
Mr Femi Olakunle, another civil servant, said the federal government should improve the minimum wage in view of the removal of fuel subsidy which had led to economic hardship.
“Government needs to look into the regularisation of salaries. We want mass housing for civil servants and this must be made seamless without a lot of bureaucratic hitches.
“We want the federal government to intensify efforts on the metro rail to link suburbs so that those who want to live in Kwali, Gwagawlada, Abaji and other areas can do so with ease as train services will ensure they get to work early,” he said
Similarly, Chinwe Amadi, a civil servant, said the government needed to provide adequate transportation in the FCT to reduce the spate of “one chance”.
“One chance”, a scenario where unsuspecting passengers are lured into commercial vehicles whose occupants are robbers, has become common in the FCT.
“Transportation is a major concern in the FCT. Few buses transport passengers. In the morning and at the close of work, you see people waiting for hours to get vehicles.
“Not long ago, government said it would reel out intercity buses. We are still waiting for that. The rate at which people are being kidnapped after boarding vehicles has become alarming in the FCT.
“If government provides these buses, it will reduce the ‘one chance’ menace in Abuja because people will enter the government-approved buses and crime will reduce,” she said.
Aisha Usman, a civil servant, said the federal government should pay close attention to the health sector in the new year.
“The economy is too harsh, people cannot afford to buy drugs because they have become so expensive. Policies must be put in place to bring inflation down.
“The government should bring the price of fuel down so that the prices of food will also come down and things can be affordable. If people can afford food, they will be happy,” she said.
Sunday Okon, a public servant, said Nigerians experienced a lot of economic hardship in 2023 as he called on the federal government to ensure a favourable economy in 2024.
“The expectations of Nigerians are high for this year. Thank God the budget has been passed.
“Nigerians expect government to be proactive in the areas of security, power, education, health, and the economy,” he said.
Fortune Etim, a public servant, said that with the economic situation, the federal government should conduct a needs assessment to understand the major challenges facing citizens.
“People’s wages cannot solve people’s problems. Bills increase every day.
“The promise to increase wages has not been fulfilled. A lot needs to be done to understand the problem and bring a sustainable solution.
“Government needs to implement its policies and achieve its manifesto for Nigerians to have a better experience in 2024.
“I know the government may still be planning, but the planning is taking too long. The government must strive to improve the living standards of Nigerians.
“Insecurity is bedeviling the country, especially in the FCT; there is a need to beef up security, beef up security manpower, and overhaul the security apparatus.
“Security takes the bulk of the budget, but insecurity keeps persisting. Nigerians want to see more transparency in spending,” he said.