Senate frowns at Nigerian Government’s embargo on Employment

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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The Senate has expressed worry as the Nigerian Government placed embargo on employment and the yearly increase on recurrent expenditure in the National budget.

This was triggered by the submissions of the Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, (NSIWC), Mr. Ekpo Nta before the Senate Committee on Establishment, chaired by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau.

Mr. Nta failed to tell the committee the total amount of salaries and wages which the Nigerian government pays its workforce yearly and this infuriated many members of the committee who wondered why recurrent expenditure in yearly budget is not decreasing on account of embargo placed on employment and retirements at the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.

A member of the Committee, Senator Ali Ndume took a swipe at the NSIWC boss, saying ”he is supposed to know the total wage bill of Government workers in arresting the dangerous trend of increases in yearly recurrent expenditure component of the budget without new recruitments and even with retirement of workers on yearly basis.”

Senator Ndume said; “Honestly speaking, time bomb is ticking out there with this policy, because of the doors shut out against millions of youths seeking for employment through the embargo. Making it worrisome is the fact that  despite the policy, since 2018 till now, recurrent expenditure components of yearly budget have been increasing.

“In 2018, it was =N=3.5trillion, =N=4trillion in 2019, =N=4.5trillion in 2020, =N=5.6trillion 2021 and =N=6.83trillion in the projected =N=16.39trillion 2022 budget. It is bad for recurrent expenditure to be increasing on yearly basis without increase in the number of workforce through required recruitments.

“The embargo is turning to a time bomb that can explode at anytime as witnessed in some countries in recent past. Personally, I’m already thinking of where to run to if the avoidable crisis is not averted. I visited Ghana and Niger recently in this regard.”

Accordingly, the Chairman of the Committee, directed the Commission’s Chairman to liaise with the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and other management officials of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS for required harmonisation in arriving at total amount of salaries and wages Government pays per annum.

The NSIWC boss lamented that his agency recruited last in 2008 and that the planned extension of year of service and retirement age for Primary and Secondary Schools Teachers would further shut the door against fresh graduates.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere

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