The Nigerian government announced it would be unable to pay civil servants the salaries agreed in a new pay structure as pledged in October because state coffers were empty, Nigerian television said yesterday. Mallam Mohamed, the press secretary to the presidency, was quoted as saying that if no remedy was found to the critical financial situation, it would be a “time bomb for the new civilian regime”. He added that there would be a pay increase but it was unclear by how much. The Nigerian head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, had promised a salary increase of 300 percent.
In an interview with a Nigerian newspaper over the weekend Abubakar said the fall in crude oil prices had cost the oil-rich west Africa country at least 200 billion naira (US $2.3 billion) in 10 months.
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