The Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), a coalition of 70 labour and civil society organisations (CSOs), says it has discovered N94.3 trillion which was unremitted to the federation account.
In a letter dated September 28 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Falana, interim national chair of the coalition, said the unremitted money can fund the national budget for more than eight years.
The group maintained that “revenue leakages” have shown that the federal and state governments have the funds to ensure better welfare for the people, and as such, ASCAB will start campaigning for another increase in the minimum wage next year.
“ASCAB rejects the argument of no money to provide basic goods for the masses. The wealth of Nigeria, as measured by the GDP, is now three times higher than it was in 1998, but the minimum wage is only worth half of its value then, and at least eight states have yet to fully pay the legislated N30,000 that was agreed to be paid from July 2019,” Falana said.
“As a result, the National Bureau of Statistics recently reported that 40% of Nigerian households have to survive on N11,500 a month or less, when the average per capita GDP is now around N75,000 a month.
“The Federal Government claims it cannot afford the ‘fuel subsidy’, state governments claim they cannot afford the minimum wage. In contrast, ASCAB has shown that the Federal Government has money owed to it of nearly N95 trillion. Assuming the revised federal budget for 2020 of N10.8 trillion is constant, the N95 trillion would fund the total federal budget for over eight years.
“Annexure 1 to this open letter is the tabulated N95trn revenue leakages. We demand a Committee of representatives of Labour, civil society organisations and government to keep track of the revenue leakages.
“Moreover, we argue that in the first quarter of this year, the government’s oil income was the highest since 2014. The second-quarter figures were very slightly lower, but the August figures were 5% higher than the rate in the first quarter of the year. So, state governments have plenty of money to pay a decent minimum wage and fund proper budgets for public education and health.”