Government in Plateau State says it has yet to lift an existing ban on employment into its civil service for fear of unhealthy competition.
There has been an embargo on employment in the State’s civil service since 2006.
Government recently attempting to lift the ban advertised 2,500 jobs but got 50,000 applications, a figure that forced a stop in the process, said the State Governor, Simon Lalong.
“Employing 2,500 people out of 50,000 applicants will simply leave us with crisis because many people will start to complain that we are only employing people we know,” Lalong said on Friday at a town hall meeting with youths in the State.
Not proceeding with the exercise may have however increased unemployment in the state as more people have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic than in the last three years.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020, from 23.1% in the third quarter of 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics says. As of third quarter of 2017, unemployment in the country stood at 18.8, says the NBS.
50,000 applications for 2,500 jobs is a confirmation of the rising unemployment but hiring for the vacant positions would’ve reduced the unemployment rate by 2,500 people.
It would equally have created cash flows that could reduce poverty and the capacity to set-up independent businesses that could create jobs, it is believed.
Not hiring equally lags government operations and earning unless the vacant positions are secretly filled, in violation of national laws and ethics.
The Government however probably had more than overwhelming job applications as reason to halt the process. “Again, when we wanted to employ they said new minimum wage,” said Governor Lalong.
In 2019, Nigeria’s federal government approved a new minimum wage – N30,000 ($78USD) from N19,000 ($49USD). This automatically shot up the wage bill of States and the Federal Government while monthly allocations remained stagnant.
However, the State has reported more internally generated revenue in the last five years than before. The new minimum wage couldn’t therefore be much a challenge if Government was willing, observers say.
Furthermore, State Governments recently received over N100bn each from federal government as salary bailout grants and Paris club refund. Governor Lalong did clear seven months salary arrears of civil servants on assumption of office, a pledge he made before winning election in 2015. However, using the incoming grants for revenue generating infrastructural development could have increased Government earnings and capacity to pay salaries, the new minimum wage included.