Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja
The Federal Government has issued a warning to the chief executive officers of all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies against inflating their personnel budgets for the 2018 fiscal period.
The move is part of the measures aimed at checking cases of ghost workers as well as reducing the rising wage bill, which accounted for about N1.88tn or 63 per cent of the recurrent non-debt expenditure of N2.99tn in the 2017 budget.
The warning is contained in the 2018 Personnel Budget Call circular issued and personally signed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.
The circular with reference BD/2000/EXP/S.651 was sent to the Chief of Staff to the President, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President, all ministers, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, all service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police.
Others are the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, all chairmen of commissions, all permanent secretaries/heads of extra-ministerial departments and the Auditor-General for the Federation.
The minister said since the Federal Government had commenced the preparation of the 2018 budget, the circular was issued to provide special instructions to all the senior officials of government agencies charged with the responsibility of preparing and submitting their personnel budgets.
Udoma in the circular said it had become necessary to commence the preparation of the 2018 budget early in order to ensure adequate budgetary provisions for personnel cost.
To guide against the insertion of extraneous items in the budget, the minister said the payroll templates for all the MDAs had been prepared using applicable salary structures as approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
He emphasised the fact that payment of salaries and allowances were for members of staff only, warning that “any extraneous payments from personnel costs will attract appropriate sanctions.”
The circular said, “The payroll templates for all MDAs have been prepared using applicable salary structures as approved by the NSIWC.
“Therefore, you are required to complete the personnel template in line with extant rules and regulations. Only persons employed in the public service of the federation should be on the nominal roll.
“Staff due for retirement as of December 31, 2017 should not be included on the nominal roll. Please, check this carefully as violations will be treated as wilful introduction of ghost workers.
“A list of all members of staff due for retirement as of December 31, 2017 must be attached separately with your submission to the Budget Office of the Federation. The list will be cross-checked against the existing nominal roll with the BOF.”
Udoma informed the head of agencies of government that they were to assign non-regular allowances only to employees who were clearly entitled under the terms of service.
He stated, “The MDAs are required to reflect appropriate grade level/step for all the workers, including provisions for annual increments.
“The MDAs are not required to provide for promotions of their workers taking effect from January 1, 2018 because such promotions cannot be predicted with certainty.
“Any new hire/recruitment included must be supported with all necessary approvals, including prior clearance by the BOF for the MDAs to recruit new employees. This is to ensure provision of adequate funds for their emoluments.”
He also said, “Consultants, contract workers and legionnaires should not be included on the nominal roll as they are not permanent and pensionable members of staff of the Federal Government.
Udoma had during the public presentation of the 2017 budget assured workers that the Federal Government had no intention of sacking its employees during the year and would continue its recurrent obligations, including meeting the personnel cost.
He, however, observed that there would be prudent management of overhead costs in order to provide adequate funds to execute capital projects.
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