The Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Is-Haq Olanrewaju Oloyede has suggested the review and overhaul of wages and the compensation structure in the public service.
“Unless we are pretenders, we all know that some things do not just add up in the compensation of public servants and most of the public office holders.
“For example, the minimum wage, as a take-home pay, cannot take anyone home at this time in our economic history.”
Professor Oloyede, who spoke today, October 5, as Chairman of the 7th Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), noted that with the ever-increasing price level and the national currency devaluation, both of which have led to a spiral inflationary level, “wages at all levels have become inadequate to meet the provision of basic needs of life for so many.”
He said that even at the highest level for top public servants and political office holders, “the compensation structure is such that we all know that it is difficult for top level public officers and political appointees to rely on their pay to sustain their living conditions and the requirements or dictates of their offices.
“Due to low salaries and emoluments, some misguided public servants at all levels are encouraged to look for sources within government to meet the elevated financial demands expected of their offices and status. “The effect of this is the sacrifice of transparency and accountability in the administration of most government offices and agencies.
“In fact, the situation is so bad that salaries and allowances of Ministers and heads of some agencies are lower than the salaries of middle level officers in a typical private enterprise. “Curiously, there is also a wide gap in the compensation and salaries of some government departments and agencies compared with some others.
“The juicy agencies and government departments have become a hub and attraction for appointments of connected individuals and families of connected individuals.”
Professor Oloyede took a look at what he called “another dimension,” where there is a wide gap in the compensation structure between the public and private sectors in Nigeria.
“While private sector executives are well remunerated in line with their output and dictates of their offices, the same thing cannot be said for public officers.
“In fact, salaries of most chief executives of the publicly quoted companies and some government agencies in Nigeria are higher than the emolument of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Similarly, salaries of some Ministers are lower than those of the chief executives of some agencies and institutions under their supervision.”
The JAMB Boss stressed that these phenomenal has been encouraging corruption and brought about lack of accountability.
He said that it also gives room for malpractices, financial impropriety, and malfeasance.
“When officers and executives are not well paid and they are entrusted with huge resources of the state, some may resort to helping themselves.”
He said that there is a lot to do to rejuvenate the economy, and said that one way of doing so is to pay a commensurate remuneration for a commensurate work. “With good, adequate and competitive compensation structure in the public sector, the system can attract good hands.
“I believe that paying the right wages in the public sector is one way to improve productivity of workers.”