(NAN ) Traders in Bauchi metropolis say the non- payment of April salary for civil servants has started taking its toll on their business activities.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi on Thursday that the development had slowed down business activities considering that substantial percentage of their customers were civil servants.
One of such traders, Saad Aliyu, said the lull in sales was unprecedented, especially at this time of Ramadan when buying and selling was supposed to be at its peak.
According to him, because of the level of poverty in the state, most of their customers are civil servants, therefore any delay in payment of salary will have a direct effect on their business.
“The delay has affected our sales seriously; we have no option than to give them items on ‘credit’ because they have not been paid.
“The development is affecting cash flow but this is fasting period and they need help to survive.
“I make N25, 000 daily from the sales of provision items and recharge cards, but with the delay in salary payment, I hardly make N10, 000 cash daily; all others go as credit and this is a set back in the business,”he lamented.
Mrs Arkila Sabo who trades in snacks at the state Secretariat, said her sales had dropped.
“Almost everything goes out as credit and this is not healthy for a petty trader whose profit margin is negligible.
“Please I am calling on government to consider the plight of civil servants and pay them their salary, which is a right.
“The delay is creating difficulties to the the entire citizens of the state.
“Without salaries, nothing moves right in the state because traders rely on civil servants to progress,” she said.
Malam Garba Jamda, a trader at the Central Market, Bauchi, told NAN that they were facing challenges tackling deluge of customers requesting for items on credit, to the extent that they now engaged in ‘hide and seek’ game.
He said some of the traders now stayed away from their shops, leaving everything in the hands of their boys, with specific instructions not to give out any item on credit.
Dr Isa Ahmadu, a public affairs commentator in Bauchi, said any hitch regarding payment of salary would always have multiplier effect on the community.
“Where a worker is unable to receive his salary, even those around him, particularly his immediate dependents, will suffer.
“ He will be unable to take care of basic needs and the deluge of petty traders who enjoy his patronage will also feel the pinch,” he explained.
It would be recalled that the Bauchi state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday decried the delay in payment of April salary of state civil servants, calling on the state government settle their entitlements without further delay.
Mr Danjuma Saleh, the chairman of the Congress in the state, told newsmen in Bauchi that workers had been subjected to hardship, especially considering the fasting period.
He had said that when the organized labour met with the state government for inquiries, they were told that the delay was due to shortfall in the fund allocated to the state from the Federation Account.
The chairman therefore called on the state government to sympathize with workers and source for money from all possible means and pay workers, latest Friday.
“All we are saying is that the government should source for money from all possible avenues and pay workers,between now and Friday, otherwise we are going to meet again and decide the next line of action,” he warned.
When contacted by NAN, Alhaji Umar Sade, the Commissioner of information had said the delay in the payment of April salary was as a result of shortfall in the federal allocation received by the state.
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