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Trends in Public Sector Wage Bills


Effective public service delivery is anchored on the hard work of a happy workforce. A situation where the public sector is poorly funded would translate into a challenging work environment. Whereas increasing public sector wage bill should ordinarily translate into improved service delivery, the corruption and long staff list of political appointees in the public sector often lead to poor remuneration of workers. 

Weak implementation of public sector reforms such as Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) has led to continued cases of ghost workers in the public sector, thus over bloating the public sector wage bill. Despite these challenges, the need for efficient service delivery in the public sector is vital for ensuring accountability and transparency in the public sector. Although the analysis of the trend of overall federal government spending has continued to increase the share of allocation to social sectors (health, education, agriculture, and women affairs), these sectors have maintained a declining trend that is also far from attaining the recommended global minimum levels. 

This report examined the trend of public sector wage bill — the total amount set aside by the government as payment for wages and salaries to its workers. The aim is to deduce issues that would help support increased advocacy for sustainable finance of the social sectors and increase public spending to the public sector that will motivate higher levels of public service delivery. Data for the report were obtained from the Budget Office of the Federation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics. Focus group discussions were also held with selected trade unions in order to cross-examine the findings from the report.