Abuja — The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday engaged in a war of words over the plan by the federal government to review the workers' payrolls in order to cut costs.
While the PDP said that intelligence at its disposal indicated that the leaders of the APC recommended the widely condemned move to slash workers' meagre salaries, the APC described the claim by the main opposition party as comical tales.
The PDP in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, described as wicked and completely unacceptable that APC leaders could go after workers' salaries even after their party had endorsed the increase in the cost of fuel, electricity and other tariffs, leading to the steep rise in the cost of food and other essential commodities beyond the reach of millions of Nigerians.
According to the PDP, "Our party rejects the baseless argument that the move to cut salaries is necessitated by dwindling revenue to finance the national budget.
"Rather than impose more hardship on our workers, the APC and its administration should realign the budget by removing their padded figures as well as end the exposed looting in the integrated payment system, where trillion of naira are being siphoned through non-existent workers and overheads," it said.
The main opposition party said the APC and its administration should return the over N15 trillion stolen by APC leaders from various agencies of government and channel same to governance.
It further said that it was distasteful that the APC and the Buhari's administration were contemplating a salary cut in a country with a paltry N30,000 monthly minimum wage.
The PDP said that it found it appalling that at a time leaders of other countries were seeking ways to provide economic stimulus and incentives for their citizens, the APC and the Buhari were rather seeking to cut salaries in a country with frightening 33.3 per cent unemployment rate; where over 60 million citizens had lost their jobs while over 40 million businesses were closed within six years of the APC administration.
"Our party cautions that APC and its administration against the proposed salary cut as it will trigger an immediate negative spiral effect, particularly with the escalated cases of terrorism and other social vices, confronting our nation," the PDP said.
But in a swift response, the APC has described the PDP claim on the purported plan to slash workers' salaries as a comical tales.
The National Secretary of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, said in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja that the ruling party was proud of its credentials as a truly progressive and people-centred political party.
"The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is up to its comical tales on what it terms 'intelligence at its disposal' to slash the salaries of workers in the country. Clearly only the PDP believes its tales."
APC added that from President Buhari administration's several social investments programmes targeted at citizens living on the margin; implementation of the improved minimum wage; the Economic Sustainability Plan to the mass housing programme benefitting thousands, the present government's commitment to the welfare of Nigerian workers had been tested, proven and unmatched.
The ruling party stressed that its administration would continue to match words with actions in line with its electoral promises.