Data analysis by Dataphyte has shown the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) paid over 8 billion as salary upfront in January 2020. This is according to the daily payment data published on the open treasury portal.
The review of salary payments between January and April 2020 showed two descriptions. The first description is January 2020 DPR Staff Salary. This has only five beneficiaries and sums to ₦29.6 million. The second description, which is 2020 DPR Staff Upfront Payment, had 605 beneficiaries and summed to ₦8 billion.
29 top officials received between ₦50 million and ₦71.7 million as upfront salary payment. Another 30 received between ₦30 million and ₦49.9 million. 51 staff members received between ₦20 million and ₦29.9 million. 119 others received between ₦10 million and ₦19.9 million. The remaining 375 staff members received between ₦5 million and ₦9.9 million.
The treasury database also indicated that five DPR staff received double payment in the same period. The first payment was with the description January 2020 Salary while the second payment had the description – 2020 DPR Staff Upfront Payment. An example of a recipient of the double payment is Abubakar Attahiru Saleh who received a sum of ₦22,755,745.91 twice the same day. While he received ₦6,318,167.93 as January Salary, he also received a second payment of ₦16,437,577.98 as Salary Upfront.
610 DPR staff earn more than the President
In addition, the data revealed that over 610 DPR personnel may earn more than the Nigerian President. According to RMAFC, President Buhari receives a total salary package of ₦1.17 million monthly. This sum is inclusive of a basic monthly salary of ₦292,892, a hardship allowance of ₦146,446 monthly, and a consistency allowance of ₦732,230 per month. Similarly, Vice President Osinbajo receives a total of ₦1.01 million monthly take-home pay. From basic arithmetic, the take-home pay of the Nigerian President and the Vice President comes to ₦14 million and ₦12 million, respectively.
Further analysis of the open treasury data revealed that staff annual salary at the DPR ranged from ₦5,028,450.22 to ₦71,723,727.24. By implication, the least paid person in DPR received over ₦419,000 monthly. While the designation of the lower ranks in the salary structure is unknown, the Operations Controller received an excess of ₦70 million annually. Also, the Director of Petroleum Resources; the Head, Safety, Health and Environment; and the Deputy Director, Basinal Assessment and Lease Administration received ₦69,378,164.01; ₦64,359,638.72; and ₦63,459,241.62, respectively.
Wage Justice and Revenue Management
This lopsided salary structure raises questions on justice and revenue management. As known, the implementation of a minimum worker’s payment of ₦30,000 monthly has been a subject of an unending debate in Nigeria. Thus, such an enormous financial commitment to a group of workers generates questions on fairness and equity. Indications that this lopsided salary payment structure is a common practice in many MDAs including the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) also stimulates concerns.
More specifically, the Treasury Data raises questions on the public service rule on upfront salary payment and the discrepancies in salary roster of DPR and other MDAs. Another question is as to whether these discrepancies violate the salary structure by the National Salary, Incomes and Wages Commission.
The need to harmonize worker’s earnings at this point remains pressing. In addition to the need for justice and equity in worker’s payment, Nigeria’s revenue shortage requires prudent economic management measures. The recent effort of the Federal Government to harmonize workers earning across MDAs is commendable. However, there is a more urgent need to level up the discrepant wage structure across MDAs.