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Ghost workers: FG stops consultants, others on payroll

Ghost workers: FG stops consultants, others on payroll

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Ifeanyi Onuba

The Federal Government has issued a warning to chief executives of all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies against inflating their personnel budgets for the 2019 fiscal period.

The move is part of measures aimed at checking the menace of ‘ghost’ workers as well as reducing the wage bill.

The warning is contained in the 2019 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, 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.

Udoma said since the Federal Government had commenced the preparation for the 2019 budget for personnel costs, it had become imperative to issue the circular in order to provide special instructions.

The special instructions, he stated, were being issued to all senior officials of government agencies charged with the responsibility for the preparation and submission of their personnel budgets.

Udoma said it had also become necessary to commence the preparation of the 2019 personnel cost budget early in order to ensure adequate budgetary provisions for personnel cost.

To guard against the insertion of extraneous items, the minister said the payroll templates for all MDAs had been prepared, using applicable salary structures as approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

He emphasised the fact that the payment of salaries and allowances was for members of staff only, noting that “any extraneous payments from personnel costs will attract appropriate sanctions.”

The circular read in part, “The payroll templates for all the MDAs have been prepared using applicable salary structures as approved by the NSIWC.

“The MDAs should note that payment of salaries and allowances are for legitimate staff only. Any unauthorised payments from personnel costs will attract appropriate sanctions.

“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.”

The minister added, “Staff due for retirement as of December 31, 2018 should not be included in the nominal roll. Please check this carefully as violations will be treated as wilful introduction of ghost workers.

“A list of all staff due for retirement as of December 31, 2018 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 government agencies that they were to assign non-regular allowances only to those employees who were clearly entitled under the terms of service and circulars issued by the NSIWC.

He stated, “The MDAs are required to reflect appropriate grade level/step for all the staff, including provisions for annual increments.

“The MDAs are not required to provide for promotions of their staff taking effect from January 1, 2019, because such promotions cannot be predicted with certainty.

“Any provisions for new hires/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 the provision of adequate funds for the emoluments of all new staff.”

He added, “Consultants, contract staff and legionnaires should not be included in the nominal roll as they are not permanent and pensionable staff of the Federal Government.

“Non-executive board members are not employed in the public service of the federation and they are not to be included in the nominal roll. Allowances and fees payable to these categories of persons are to be paid out of the overhead costs of each MDAs.”

The minister also stated that henceforth, allowances due to members of the National Youth Service Corps should not be included in the nominal roll as these had been taken care of centrally by the NYSC.

“The MDAs are not required to include allowances for youth corps members in their personnel cost estimates. Any additional allowance payable to youth corps members assigned to the MDAs may only be paid from their overhead cost provisions.”

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