Minimum Wage: Federal, State Governments Should Scale Down Duplicating Agencies – El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai

 

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said the Federal and State Governments should reduce the number of personnel that duplicate functions in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in workers’ salaries.

El-Rufai stated this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, following the controversy trailing the new minimum wage across the country.

“I think there is a need to merge Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that have similar functions to reduce the number of people.

“I believe that not just the state governments, even the federal government needs to scale down, merge duplicating agencies,” he stated.

The governor’s comments come on the heels of the approval of N27,000 as the new minimum wage by the National Council of State three days ago.

READ ALSO: National Council Of State Approves N27,000 As New Minimum Wage

Following the Council’s approval, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Doctor Chris Ngige, stated that the Federal Government is topping the approved amount by N3,000 to 30,000 for its workers.

While welcoming the development, the Governor El-Rufai faulted a situation whereby some state governor would still harbour and pay many aides whose roles were similar in governance.

He said that the new minimum wage of N27,000 agreed upon by the Federal Government would instil discipline in some governors to be prudent with the resources at their disposal.

“I think there is a need for a major surgical operation on the structure and machinery of government. When we came into office, we found out that the former government in Kaduna had 23 or 24 commissioners for the simple reason that we have 23 Local Governments in Kaduna State.

“That is senseless. We merged ministries, reduced the number of ministries from 24 to 13. I agree that some state governments have Special Advisers and thousands of Special Assistants and that will go down. I think that this new minimum wage will actually induce that change,” he stated.

El-Rufai also advised the nation’s leaders to think beyond oil by diversifying the economy to better the lots of Nigerians.

Agencies, Groups Seek Sustainable Financing For HIV/AIDS

NACA, Agencies, Victims Seek Sustainable Financing For HIV/AIDSA community of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is calling for the establishment of a national trust fund to finance the national HIV/AIDS response.

The group made the call at a meeting of the National Council On Aids in Abuja to discuss sustainable financing options for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

According to them, the current financing mechanism with donor partners contributing over 70% of the national funding for HIV/AIDS is not sustainable.

According to the 2008 report of the United Nations Program On HIV/AIDS, 3.1% of people between the age of 15 and 49 were living with HIV/AIDS as at 2007.

That prevalence rate led to the formation of the National Council On Aids in 2007 to mobilize states resources against the ravaging effects of the HIV pandemic.

Ten years after, members of the National Agency for the Control of Aids say the current funding mechanism with government contributing less than 30% of total funding is no longer sustainable.

“The current HIV funding in Nigeria is not sustainable. It is driven primarily by international donors. We need to take our destinies in our hands,” the Director General said.

The National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS also appealed to the council to consider a national trust fund for HIV/AIDS intervention.

“One way forward for us to own our destiny and take charge is for us to have a national aids trust fund that can be able to take charge of domestic resources.

“We need not wait for statutory allocation every year, we need not wait for the donors to come and help us all the time,” he said.

Corruption

However, a member of the House of Reps Committee on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria emphasized the need for transparency in the administration of funds and drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS.

“We have to make sure that we eradicate corruption from our daily lives. Sometimes people go the clinics, they cannot access these drugs but then you can pay money from outside and you get these drugs. That is corruption.

“So in as much as we are looking at system strengthening at this level, we must all make sure that we get to the end users and make sure that these drugs are given to them especially because the finance is not going to be there as it used to be.”

There are currently about 3.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria with an annual death rate of 180,000.

Experts say the situation could get worse if a sustainable financing option is not devised in the face of dwindling donor funding.

Commissioner, MD Suspended Indefinitely For Lateness In Cross River

Cross River, Ben AyadeCross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, on Tuesday suspended two top government officials indefinitely for reporting late to work.

Those suspended are the state’s Commissioner for Water Resources, Ntufam Ojie and the Managing Director of Water Board Limited, Dr. Oju Igile.

The Governor announced their suspension during an unscheduled tour of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that civil and public servants comply strictly with basic work ethics in Cross River, a state in southern Nigeria.

He told reporters at the premises of the ministry in Calabar, the capital of the state, that it was an act of indiscipline for appointees not to be at their duty post before 9.00am.


Governor Ayade stressed that the suspension would serve as a deterrent to other government employees.

In another development, he also supervised a roll call of staff who signed the time book as of the time of his visit, to check truancy in the MDAs

The Governor subsequently directed that all erring staff be disciplined in line with the civil service rules.

Payroll Has Gone Down By 6.6bn Naira – Adeosun

Minister-of-Finance-Mrs-Kemi-Adeosun-PayrollThe Federal Government says it has saved 6.6 billion Naira on its payroll since November 2015.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the claim on Monday while giving a brief on the activities of the Efficiency Unit (E-UNIT) approved by President Muhammadu Buhari last November.

“On salaries, we’ve cleaned our payroll. As at last week, we had reduced our payroll amount by 6.6 billion Naira between when I started work in November and today.”

Cutting Cost

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mrs Adeosun told Nigerians to expect more civil servant protests, saying that the workers were reacting to government’s unpopular decisions.

She restated the government’s commitment to cutting cost of running the affairs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“By the nature of the job at the moment, I am cutting cost, I am taking people off the payroll (and) I am reviewing projects.”

The Finance Minister added that the implementation of the policy was across board (at both lower and higher cadre of the public sector), saying it would be unfair if it affects the junior workers only.

FG To Pay MDAs’ 78.7bn Naira Electricity Debts

Babatunde Fashola, FG, ElectricityThe Federal Government has promised to pay the 78.7 billion Naira electricity debts owed distribution companies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government before the end of the year.

In what appeared to be leading by example to ensure transformation of the power sector, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, announced that the military was already making plans to pay its debts.

He made the promise on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital at a town hall forum organised by the Kukah Centre, to create dialogue between policy makers and Nigerians for greater citizens’ participation in governance.

National Housing Policy
The Minister also spoke on mass housing across the country, which he said would only be possible through the standardisation of mass housing projects.

He disclosed that government was developing a ‘National Housing Policy’ that would address all issues across states.

In his remarks, the Patron of the centre, Bishop Matthew Kukah, stressed the need for such dialogues, considering the magnitude of issues that needed to be resolved in many sectors of the economy.

Other components of the forum, which is expected to hold monthly, include policy round table and discussions from both sides of the government aimed at fixing Nigeria in the long term.

Nigeria Will Look Inwards To Overcome Economic Challenges – Buhari

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will look inwards and enforce regulations to stop financial leakages in order to overcome the current economic challenges facing Nigeria.

The President said this while receiving the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He said his government would adopt global best practices in generating more revenue to mitigate the effect of dwindling oil prices on the Nigerian economy.

President Buhari added that his administration would implement greater discipline, probity and accountability in all revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government.

“We have just come out of budget discussions after many weeks of taking into consideration, the many needs of the country and the downturn of the economy with falling oil prices and the negative economic forecasts. We are working very hard and with the budget as our way forward, we will do our best to ensure that our country survives the current economic downturn.

“We have also told all heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government that on our watch, they will fully account for all funds that get into their coffers,” President Buhari told Ms Lagarde.

The President revealed that the Federal Government was reviewing its operational costs and had directed all the MDAs to cut down on their overhead costs.

He said that the government would welcome the technical support and expertise of the IMF for its plans to diversify the Nigerian economy and further unleash its growth potentials.

In her remarks, Ms Lagarde said that the IMF would be willing to assist the Federal Government in plugging revenue leakages, tracing stolen funds and restructuring its tax system.

She said that Nigeria has all the potentials to overcome the current economic challenge of falling commodity prices without resorting to the IMF for financial support.

Fayose Approves 119 Million Naira Car Loan For Ekiti Workers

FayoseGovernor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has approved the disbursement of a sum of 119 million naira as car loans to 623 workers in the state public service.

The state’s Commissioner for Finance, Toyin Ojo, disclosed this in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, at the weekend.

Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) got 82,120,000 naira while Parastatals and Agencies got 36.80 million naira.

Mr Ojo, according to a statement by the Ministry of Information on Monday, said that the loans, which ranged from 800,000 naira to 1.5 million naira, was “approved depending on the salary grade level of the benefiting officers”.

The government’s statement said that the Commissioner “stressed the commitment of the Fayose administration to the welfare of workers in the state civil service” and explained that “the loan is to be disbursed in one single tranche to the benefiting officers”.

He had “also promised that another batch of beneficiaries of the workers’ car loans will be announced before the end of this year”.

Buhari Dissolves Boards Of Federal Parastatals, Agencies And Institutions

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has approved the dissolution of the Governing Boards of Federal Parastatals, Agencies and Institutions.

According to a statement by President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the dissolution is with effect from today, July 16, 2015.

Until the boards are reconstituted, Chief Executive Officers of the affected parastatals, agencies and institutions are to refer all matters requiring the attention of their boards to the President, through the Permanent Secretaries of their supervising ministries.

While the dissolution does not affect Federal Executive Bodies listed in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it covers administrative or technical committees and other similar organs established by the now dissolved boards.