The Minister of Labour and Employment has said that neither the ministers nor the board have the authority to award contracts in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) or any other federal board.
Mr Ngige said this in a statement signed by Samuel Olowookere, the director of press in the ministry on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said his attention had been drawn to media reports indicating that his office appropriated the powers of the board of NSITF in the award of contracts, hence the delay in inaugurating the board.
“Such a blatant falsehood is either on account of fertile ignorance or outright mischief or both by the originator as well as the peddlers.
“It is, therefore, imperative that the provisions of the procurement Act 2010 which is clear and unambiguous on the process for the award of contracts be re-emphasised.
“For purpose of clarity, the Ministerial Tenders Board (MTB) for the award of contracts in any ministry is made up of the Permanent Secretaries as Chairman and his directors.
“In the parastatals, the Parastatals Tenders Board consists of Chief Executive Officer (Director-General or Managing Director) and his directors.
“It was, therefore, a ‘stunningly crass ignorance’ for anyone to think that part of the reasons for delaying the NSITF board inauguration was to enable the minister usurp the role of boards as regard award of contracts,’’.
In a subtle swipe at the national chairman of the of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, Mr Ngige advised those in positions of authority to be versed in the basic issues that guide public governance and also be properly guided in their utterance, to avoid character assassination and misinformation of the public.
He said the reason for the delay of the NSITF board inauguration was to enable the Administrative Panel of Inquiry probe the misappropriation of N48 billion out of which five billion naira disappeared in a day without vouchers.
The minister added that the panel had submitted its report while the committee implementing the report had begun work and would finish soon, paving way for the inauguration of the board.
Mr Oshiohmole had threatened to expel Mr Ngige, or any minister, who failed to inaugurate members of board of parastatals under their supervision, from the party.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the on-going face-off between Messrs Oshiomhole and Ngige will be resolved amicably.
The minister gave the assurance when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Mr Mohammed, who also spoke on Tuesday’s defection of some members of the National Assembly from the ruling APC to Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), said the issue was not discussed during the cabinet meeting.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had already stated that the defectors were at liberty to belong to any political party in line with democratic tenets.
He noted that the APC was in firm control at the National Assembly, in spite the defections at the two chambers of the Assembly.
“The governing party, the All Progressives Congress APC is still having the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly,’’ he said.
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