To check the incidence of ghost workers and rising wage bill, the federal government has warned heads of federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, against padding their personnel budget proposals for the 2018 fiscal period.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, gave the warning in a circular 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.
Copies of the circular were also sent to all chairmen of commissions, permanent secretaries/heads of extra-ministerial departments, the Auditor-General for the Federation and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Mr. Udoma said the federal government spent about N1.88 trillion, or 63 per cent of the recurrent non-debt expenditure in the 2017 budget on payment of workers’ salaries and other benefits.
The minister, who said the process for the preparation of the 2018 budget had begun, said government would ensure adequate budgetary provisions were made for personnel costs.
The payroll templates for all the MDAs, he said, had been prepared using the necessary applicable salary structures as approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to check illegal inclusion of unapproved items in the budget,
“Let me warn, any extraneous payments from personnel costs will attract appropriate sanctions,” Mr. Udoma said. “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 willful introduction of ghost workers.
He said a list of all members of staff due for retirement as that date must be attached separately with the submission from each MDA and forwarded to the Budget Office of the Federation for cross-checking against existing nominal rolls.
He reminded head of government agencies about their responsibility, pointing out that they were to assign only non-regular allowances to employees who were clearly entitled under the terms of service.
The MDAs, he said, were expected to reflect appropriate grade levels/steps for all the workers, including provisions for annual increments.
The agencies were not permitted to make provisions for promotions of their workers effective January 1, 2018, as such promotions cannot be predicted with certainty.
Other guidelines stipulated in the circular included the need for heads of agencies to ensure that new hires/recruitments were supported with all necessary approvals, including prior clearance by the Budget Office of the Federation, to ensure of adequate funding for their emoluments.
Besides, the circular stated, consultants, contractors and legionnaires must not be included on the nominal roll of the MDAs, as they were not permanent and pensionable staff of the Federal Government.
Restating government’s assurance not to sack workers during the year, Mr. Udoma said government would continue to meet its recurrent obligations and personnel costs.
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