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Senate tackles FG over embargo on employment

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Senate tackles FG over embargo on employment

The Senate Chamber

Senate has descended heavily on the federal government over embargo placed on employment and the yearly increase on recurrent expenditure in the national budget.

Anger of the upper legislative chamber 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 (APC Kano Central).

Specifically, Nta failed to tell the committee the total amount of salaries and wages which the federal 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.

In his comments, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) took a swipe at the NSIWC boss, saying he supposed to know the total wage bill of the federal 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.

“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.


Senate tackles FG over embargo on employment

“In 2018, it was N3.5trillion, N4trillion in 2019, N4.5trillion in 2020, N5.6trillion 2021 and N6.83trillion in the projected N16.39trillion 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.”

Chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau (APC Kano North) and other members like Senators Suleiman Kwari (APC Kaduna North) and Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP Ondo South), aligned themselves with Ndume’s submission.

Pointedly, the chairman of the committee, directed the commission’s chairman to laiase with the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and other management officials of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS for required harmonization in arriving at total amount of salaries and wages the federal government pays per annum.

Earlier in his presentation, 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.

“The policy seems good but what happened to young graduates with teaching qualification,” Nta quipped.

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