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FG Owes Retirees N293bn, Says It Won’t Sack Workers

2 August 2016 National

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has commenced interrogation of some civil servants over allegations that they may be ghost workers, the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, said yesterday in Abuja.
According to her, the measure was aimed at sanitizing the civil service in line with global best practices.
She also confirmed that the Federal Government was indebted to retired federal civil servants to the tune of N293bn, adding however that government was at  crossroads on how to get resources to offset the debts.

Oyo-Ita spoke while answering questions from journalists after addressing a press briefing in commemoration of the Civil Service Week, scheduled to commence on Wednesday.

Already, she said, some civil servants were being quizzed by the EFCC in relation to the issue of ghost workers.

She said this was the first time in the history of Nigeria that government would be paying strict attention to the issue of ghost workers, adding that the introduction of the BVN had also helped in exposing the lapses.

She however doused apprehension that the Federal Government was planning to retrench some of its workforce due to economic downturn.

Oyo-Ita said the government’s main focus was to reduce the number of Ministries, Department and Agencies, saying “restructuring does not equate to retrenchment.”

According to her, the N293bn debt was incurred through factors including service-wide staff claims, particularly those bordering on promotion arrears, First 28 days, repatriation allowance and death benefits among others.

She said the government was considering a phased payment formula, while the Presidency had directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to explore ways of making the payments.

Also commenting on the issue of appointments of Permanent Secretaries, tenure extension and the effect of the tenure elongation policy, Oyo-Ita stated that it was the prerogative of the President to appoint a permanent secretary as well as extend the tenure.

She however stated that irregular appointment of those who did not get into the service through the right channel would be reversed.


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