FG: Insists on Review of salaries of ministries, agencies and parastatals.

President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the presidential committee on salaries and wages to review and realign earnings of employees of ministries, agencies, and parastatals.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who disclosed this in an interview with THISDAY at the weekend, said part of the objective is to check disparity in payment of salaries and wages as well as prone the running cost of governance.

He also said the motive of putting together the committee was to address the rising cost of personnel in the budget of the federation.

“The president set up a committee called the presidential committee on salaries and wages last year of which I am a co-chair, it is being chaired by the Minister of Finance and Planning with the Head of Service as a member for us to see how we can address the rising cost of personnel in the budget of the federation. If you look at the 2020 budget cost, about one third is set aside for the running cost; we are talking of about two-third of the budget being consumed by what you call recurrent expenditure,” he said.

Ngige added that the committee had made some suggestions to the federal government on how to fuse some parastatals that are doing the same job.

“We also sent to the government our opinion on the staggering disparity in payment of salaries and wages of people who do the same quantum of work and for people who have the same qualification but one have found himself in the ministry and another has seen himself in an agency or parastatal.

“Some are in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and take humongous pay that is 10 times of their classmates. Some are in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some are in other parastatals in aviation and the differential is much compared to the person in the ministry.

“So, these are the broad terms of references of our work. Part of the work is that we are going to talk about and recommend collapsing or fusion of some agencies that are doing identical works and scrapping of some agencies that are already dead,” he said.

Contrary to reports that the federal government has adopted the Oronsaye-led committee’s report, the minister said the committee would have to evaluate the role of agencies and parastatals and ensure that they are structured to perform optimally.

He explained that the establishment of the new ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development was a product of such creative thinking by the government.

“We are looking at something that is like the work Oronsaye did, but in Oronsaye’s committee report there are some good aspects of it and there are many things that are not good there. Even if you take the White paper, it disagreed in the main with about one-third of Oronsaye’s recommendation, about 40 per cent of the recommendation and another 20 – 25 per cent of the recommendation.

“The white paper committee never supported the recommendation or said no to the recommendation they just said noted. So, there is no way one can use it for a very essential report because the white paper committee didn’t do good work. What I am telling you, in essence, is the area of reference of the Oronsaye’s committee. If our government sets up our own committee like we are doing now in, what the presidential committee on salary and wages are going to do now is to put our recommendation into that of economic sustainability committee. Luckily, the finance minister is a member and I am also a member of the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) So, the unions have no need to cry and shout.

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