Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, said in order to mitigate the hardship caused by the economic recession, many federal civil servants are applying for transfer to their states of origin.
The workers regret the increasing high cost of living with regard to house rents, transportation as well as food items, which they claim are no longer affordable, except government increases salaries to enable them to meet their demands.
The Guardian learnt that workers, at all cadres of the federal civil service, are involved in the demand for transfer.
According to a reliable source, the ministries of education, information, agriculture, health, aviation, power, works and housing as well as, some of their departments and agencies are deeply affected.
The country is at present witnessing economic recession, which financial analysts described as the worst in the last 10 years.
An official of one of the parastatals in the Ministry of Information told The Guardian: ‘’Some of us, as I speak with you, have been transferred to our states of origin. We are quite confident that we would be able to manage whatever salary we receive monthly, now that such transfer windows have been opened to us.
‘’Currently, the cost of kerosene is getting out of hand, but now that I am in my home state, I can afford to use firewood in cooking instead. It has not been easy since the last one year. To pay house rent is another problem and the funny thing about the situation is that all the little funds we were getting from overtime and training allowances, to mention a few, have been blocked by the Treasury Single Account (TSA). These were some avenues through which we were augmenting our salaries. But unfortunately, they have now been stopped.’’
According to the source, the request for transfer is also a fallout of the failure of government to keep to its promise of paying salaries to civil servants latest by 25th of every new month. “Today, many civil servants get their salaries sometimes two weeks into another month.”
Another worker in one of the aforementioned ministries who succeeded in getting his transfer from Abuja to his home state, said: ‘’Now that I have been transferred to my home state, I no longer worry about exorbitant house rents, fuelling my car and even paying my children’s school fees, which have greatly reduced.’’
But the government has denied granting transfer requests on account of economic recession.
The Director of Communications, Office of the Head of the Civil Service (HOS), Rasheed Haruna Imrana, told The Guardian that there was nothing like that happening in the service.
Imrana explained: ‘There is proper control in the movement of staff in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). To the best of our knowledge, there is nothing like workers seeking transfer to their states of origin on the ground of economic challenges. There is absolutely nothing like that.’’
According to him, civil servants have been adapting to the current situation by carrying out their duties diligently and the government is doing everything possible within available resources to ensure that the work environment and welfare packages of civil servants are greatly enhanced.
“ Since the current Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita assumed office, one of the ways she has brought sanity into the service is by checking undue mobility. That is, unnecessary movement of workers,” he said.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) warned that the quest by civil servants to be redeployed to their respective states as a way of coping with the economic recession might backfire and lead to mass retrenchment in the service.
In an interview with The Guardian, the association’s President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, said: “It might result in retrenchment. When you have plenty people going back to their states, and the offices in the states cannot accommodate them, you throw out the excess. That is what it implies.
“It will create a lacuna in the Federal Civil Service. The status quo should be maintained, otherwise people would create unnecessary problems for the system.”