Nigerian workers on Sunday in Abuja decried the recent recruitment of Permanent Secretaries from outside the civil service.
Bobbio Kaigama, the President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, stated this at the 2016 May Day celebration. The theme of the celebration was, “The Working Class and the Quest for Socio-Economic Revival”.
“We wish to state that the recent appointment of Permanent Secretaries from outside the Civil Service contravened the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Mr. Kaigama said.
“This is capable of doing collateral damage to the system. The ill-advised policy, if not stopped now, is capable of killing the morale of senior civil servants who have served their fatherland meritoriously for decades.
“This because they can no longer aspire to rise to the peak of their career.”
Mr. Kaigama urged the Federal Government to discontinue the practice while those already recruited particularly those above 60 years, should be disengaged.
He said it was common knowledge that the civil service is the engine room that oils the wheels of government to ensure efficient and effective service delivery to the people.
“So, it is very important that the service is equipped with requisite tools to enhance productivity, in addition to providing welfare packages to boost the morale of Civil Servants.
“That is why we are also calling on the Federal Government to ensure that illegal extension of the tenure of permanent secretaries is also addressed.”
He cited Public Service Rule 020810 which stipulates that retirement age in the civil service shall be 60 years of age or 35 years of pensionable service whichever comes earlier.
He said that labour had information that some other permanent secretaries who would soon retire, were warming up to apply for extension and advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to grant such requests.
Mr. Kaigama also called on the Federal Government to quickly settle all outstanding arrears owed civil and public servants.
He said the outstanding arrears include salary arrears, promotion arrears dating back to 2007, 1st 28 days in lieu of hotel accommodation, duty tour allowance, mandatory training allowance for 2010, burial expenses and repatriation allowance, among others.
“We are worried that the sum provided for the settlement of these arrears under the Service Wide Vote in the 2016 Budget is inadequate and has even been slashed by N28.5 billion by the National Assembly.
“We, therefore, demand that the federal lawmakers should retrace their steps on this issue and approve what was voted for the outstanding benefits of civil servants in the interest of industrial peace and harmony in the country.
“The Federal Government on its part, should also as a matter of urgency, prepare a supplementary budget to capture the balance of indebtedness to Public Servants so that the matter can be put behind us.
“Against this background, we call on the Federal Government to address the issues in the interest of the service,” Mr. Kaigama said.