The 36 states of the federation have budgeted about N12 trillion for workers’ salaries, allowances, overheads and pensions in the last four years, according to Daily Trust investigations.


Despite these huge budgetary allocations, about 15 states across the country are still owing their workers months of salary arrears and pensions.

Since 2015, the federal government had released about N1.8 trillion as a bailout to the states to enable them to pay salaries.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a recent interview with the Hausa Service of Voice of America, urged Nigerians not to support governors owing workers and pensioners during next elections.

Analysis of budgets figures presented by states to their various Houses of Assembly revealed that between 2016 and 2019, their combined budget was N28.93 trillion, of which N11.91 was voted for workers

emoluments and other recurrent expenses. The remaining N17.02 trillion was allocated to capital projects.


What the money can do

The N11.91 trillion the 36 states budgeted for salaries and overheads in the last four years is 72 times the money the federal government is spending on the reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway.

In June last year, the federal government flagged off the reconstruction of the 417 kilometre expressway. It was awarded to Julius Berger at the cost N155.4 billion. The German construction giant has 36 months to complete the project.

Also, the states’ wage bill during the period under the review is about three times what the federal government needs to complete the Lagos-Kano standard gauge rail line.

The only standard gauge rail line currently in operation is the Abuja-Kaduna segment, while the Lagos-Ibadan aspect is nearing completion.

Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi recently said the federal government needed about N4 trillion (about one-third of what the states budgeted for salaries) to complete the modern rail line.

In terms of power generation, the four-year wage bill of the 36 states is enough to generate 15,000MW of electricity through a hydro system. The wage bill can build five hydropower stations with a capacity to generate 3,050MW each the size and capacity of the Mambilla hydro power project.

The federal government awarded $5.792 (now equivalent to N2.095 trillion) Mambilla power project contract to a Chinese consortium.

The scope of the Mambilla project will include the construction of four dams and 700 kilometres of transmission lines, among other benefits.


States wage bill over the years

In 2019, the states – minus Cross River and Zamfara – have a cumulative budget of N7.70 trillion, a drop of about N1.2 trillion from the previous year. About N3.24 trillion was voted for salaries and the remaining N4.46 trillion left for capital expenses. The huge difference is due to the fact that Cross River, one of the states with the highest budget last year, has not presented its estimates for 2019 yet.

In 2018, Cross River alone budgeted N1.3 trillion – the biggest ever by any state in the country. It was followed by Lagos state that budgeted N1.03 trillion. The Lagos state budget presented only yesterday by Governor Ambode Akinwumi, dropped to N852.3 billion.

In 2018, the states budgeted N3.39 trillion for salaries, out of their total budget of N8.95 trillion. The remaining N5.52 trillion was left for capital spending.

The total budgets of the states in 2017 was N6.2 trillion, of which N2.67 trillion was voted for workers emoluments, leaving N3.53 trillion for capital projects.

In 2016, the states’ vote for salaries and allowances was N2.60 trillion out of the total estimates of N6.1 trillion. The balance of N3.5 trillion was for capital expenditure.


Zonal salary spending in 2019

The total states’ budget for 2019 is N7.70 trillion. Northern states – minus Zamfara – have a total budget of N2.86 trillion, comprising N1.27 trillion for salaries and N1.57 trillion for capital projects.

The southern states, except Cross River, budgeted N4.85 trillion. Of these figures, N1.96 trillion is recurrent votes and N2.89 trillion capital votes.

A geopolitical analysis of the 2019 estimates have shown that the northwest has a combined budget of N1.05 trillion – N402.4 trillion for salaries and N654.8 trillion for capital expenses.

The north-central combined budget is N899.3 billion. Of this amount, N446.9 billion was allocated to salaries and N437.8 billion for capital.

The northeast total budget is N910.4 billion, comprising N429.2 billion recurrent votes and N478.1 billion for capital projects.

The southwest’s cumulative budget is N1.88 trillion. The states allocated N872.4 billion for salaries and N1.01 trillion for capital expenses.

The south-south’s total budget (minus Cross River) is N1.99 trillion, with N781.4 billion going for salaries and N1.22 billion for capital votes.

The southeast states have a combined budget of N870.1 billion. Recurrent expenditure got N313.8 billion and N567.7 billion for capital projects.