Shock Value

Shock Value

The Nigerian economy, like any other, experiences “shocks”— events or policy decisions that can send a ripple of changes through the system. This column zooms in on these ripples in a range of sectors to explore how and why these shocks matter.

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Should Civil Servants Be Paid More?

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi is an avid reader seeking insights in unexpected places. Her research interests include economic development, political economy and trade.

Amid calls to raise the national minimum wage, reports that civil servants may soon get a pay increase should be good news. Salaries in the national public service were last reviewed in 2010 when the consolidated salary structure was raised by over 50%, followed by a national minimum wage increase in 2011. Since then, prices have skyrocketed, and the naira has plummeted; it would be reasonable to expect salaries to rise as well.

Paying civil servants more money makes sense economically, too; if public sector pay is paltry compared to private employers, then the government will lose out on the best talent. However, a look at the Nigerian government's finances indicates that without broader payroll reforms, a civil service wage increase could do more harm than good.

 

Wage Delays, Work Deficiencies 

The Nigerian government already struggles to pay its workers, and a pay raise would only make this worse. Just last year, several states owed multiple months, and even years' worth, of salaries and pensions, despite taking loans from Aso Rock. The Federal Government itself had to borrow ₦473 billion in 2014 to pay salaries.

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