Nigerian workers have expressed concern over the delay in the payment of the N35,000 wage award by Federal Government to cushion the removal of fuel subsidy.
Speaking on the delay in the payment, the workers who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja, said the delay had compounded the hardship that citizens had to bear.
Mr Christopher Samuel, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said workers were no longer able to meet their basic needs let alone live a decent life.
“Workers are heavily indebted as a result of the astronomic increase in the cost of goods and services including transportation.
“I can assure you that this can have a very negative effect one is that it will breed sharp practices in the work place as workers strive to survive.
“It has the potential of affecting worker’s productivity negatively. It undermines workers confidence in government policies or decisions while equally eroding the integrity of government.
“And most importantly it does not demonstrate that government has the interest and welfare of it’s workers at heart,” Samuel said.
On his part another respondent, Mr Mustapha Lamidi, a Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy staff decried the delay saying that it had defeated the purpose for which it was introduced.
“The purpose of the Federal Government wage award/palliative has been defeated because it is supposed to cushion the increase in the price of fuel.
“As I am talking to you now most civil servants are yet to access even the first award talk less of the second one.
“Moreover the continued increases in the prices of essential products is also contributing to the reason the palliative is not making positive impact on civil servants as inflation continue to be on the rise,” Lamidi said.
Mr Christopher Egwuatu, Deputy National Chairman, the Nigerian Institution of Facilities Engineering and Management (NIFEngM) in the same vein spoke on the effect of the delay.
Egwuatu said it could cause financial stress with significant effects on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.
“For many workers, especially those with low incomes, the N35,000 palliative for just two months may not be sufficient to cover basic living expenses.
“This can result in increased financial strain, making it challenging for individuals and families to meet their needs.
“This could lead to frustration and a sense of insecurity, especially if the economic conditions remain challenging.
“Anxiety about meeting basic needs, such as housing, food, and healthcare, can contribute to increased stress levels and potential health issues,” Egwuatu said.
Also, Mrs Caroline Ogundipe, a civil servant said limited financial support might lead to reduction in consumer spending, affecting local businesses and the overall economy.
“When workers have less disposable income, they are likely to cut back on non-essential purchases, impacting various sectors.
“Workers facing financial challenges may resort to borrowing to make ends meet. This can lead to an accumulation of debt, further exacerbating financial difficulties in the long run.
“Insufficient financial support can have broader social implications, potentially leading to increased social inequality, crime rates, and other social challenges.
“Also, workers who feel unsupported during difficult times may experience a decline in job satisfaction and motivation. This could, in turn, impact productivity and overall workplace morale.
Ogundipe said workers who were relying on government palliatives find themselves in a vulnerable position since the support was not sustained.
She therefore said that there was the need for long-term solutions to address economic challenges occasioned by the hike in pump price.
“It is essential for governments to consider the long-term economic implications of their support programs and ensure that they are sustainable and sufficient to meet the needs of the population.
“Transparent communication about the duration and scope of support can also help manage expectations and mitigate some of the negative effects on workers.”