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FG commences salary review for civil servants

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Yemi-Esan: FG has commenced salary review for civil servants

The federal government says it has commenced the review of salary scales for civil servants of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) in the country. 

Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of the civil service of the federation, said this during the 2021 public service lecture week on Tuesday.

In May, Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget, and national planning, had hinted the federal government was ready to review its payroll to reduce the cost of governance.

Ahmed had explained that the federal government is not thinking of cutting wages but seeking pay parity.

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Speaking at the event, Yemi-Esan said President Muhammadu Buhari has set up committee to harmonise salaries of civil servants.

She said there is also a sub-committee looking into the various salary scales to which she belongs.

“We have had two meetings since then, and we have been given just a month to submit the report to the larger committee,” she said.

“So once the work is done, though it is a great task, I can tell you that the committee will do the needful. The work is still ongoing, and you will get the report as we conclude.”

Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, guest lecturer and former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), stressed the need for government to invest in people.

She said workers are not motivated to do their best because of the poor salary, adding that what motivates is giving the workers space, challenges and a boss that looks on them and recognizes their potentials.

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Economy

Buhari Unveils Redesigned Naira Notes

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President Muhammadu Buhari has introduced the newly redesigned N1,000, N500 and N200 notes to the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the new naira notes
President Muhammadu Buhari speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the new naira notes
The President performed the long awaited ceremony at the State House Council Chambers on Wednesday shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

The redesigned N200, N1000 and N500 naira notes
The redesigned N200, N1000 and N500 naira notes
In unveiling the redesigned notes, the President was supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Goodwin Emefiele, and the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba.

The new naira note policy has been generating controversy since it’s announcement by Emefiele, with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, kicking against it and saying she wasn’t even consulted.

President Buhari had however repeatedly thrown his weight behind the policy, saying that is the only way to save the naira.

Emefiele announced that President Buhari would unveil the new notes on Wednesday.

Emefiele made the announcement at the CBN Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that took place at the apex bank Abuja headquarters on Tuesday.

The redesigned N200 note
The redesigned N200 note
During the meeting, Emefiele reiterated that the new notes will become legal tender immediately they are launched today but the old notes will remain acceptable till January 31, 2023.

The apex bank boss however warned that there won’t be any extension to the January 31 2023 deadline to stop accepting the old notes as legal tender

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Economy

Nigeria’s Debt Profile Hits N41.6B

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The Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs. Patience Oniha, has confirmed that Nigeria’s dept profile as at March 2022 stands at N41.60 trillion

Oniha, during her appearance at the ongoing engagement on the 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Policy Paper held by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance Thursday, attributed Nigeria’s high debt profile to lack of revenues and approval of the annual budget with a deficit by the National Assembly which increased the debt stock of the country.

She said: “As at December 2020, the debt stock of the federal, state governments and the Federal Capital Territory was N32.92 trillion. By December 2021, it was N39.556 trillion. As at March of this year, we publish quarterly, it was N41.6 trillion. On the average, federal government is owing about 85 per cent of the total.

“We have been running deficit budget for many years and each time you approve a budget with a deficit, by the time we raise that money because when you approve it, it is giving us a mandate, authority to borrow, it will reflect in the debt stock, so debt stock will increase. Also note that states are also borrowing. So we add their own. They also have laws governing their borrowings and as debt stock increases so does debt service.

“Until the issues of personnel, overhead and capital expenditure are properly addressed in the budget, borrowing would not stop.”

Furthermore, she stated that: “A world Bank report showed that in terms of debt to GDP ratio, Nigeria is low but for debt service to revenue ratio, we are very high. So, if you look at tax to GDP ratio of these other countries, they are in multiples of Nigeria.

“The World Bank survey report of about 197 countries revealed that Nigeria is number 195, meaning we beat only two countries and that was Yemen and Afghanistan and I don’t think we want to be like those places.

“When the MTEF for 2021 to 2023 was being prepared, it is to say, let’s begin to look at revenues because as debt is growing, debt services are increasing. So, the language we used was for debt to be sustainable in the medium term. Sustainable means you can service your debt without difficulty, without it consuming all your revenues because you have very little for other projects.

“You must look at revenues very closely and I think the discussions you have had with the Customs is part of it. There are many other revenue generating agencies. So, we must increasingly begin to look out for our revenue for funding out activities as opposed to deficit.

“We talk about N11 trillion deficit and borrowing for 2023, how much is the revenue there? That’s one. When we look at the first tranche that was N10 trillion for full year of subsidy and N9 trillion for subsidy next year, the size of the borrowing was 62 per cent of the budget. That’s high. The responsibilities, I think, are on both sides. Query the various expenditure lines and see what it is we can handle. So, if the deficit is lower, the borrowing will be lower and that’s how to grow on a slower pace.”
The deputy chairman of the committee, Hon. Saidu Abdullahi, who presided at the session, said: “The country was on a good pedestal to keep borrowing. The need for borrowing will always be there. It doesn’t matter how much we make, the country must borrow. What we should be interested in is the sustainability of what we are borrowing and from what she has said, the country is on a good pedestal in terms of managing its borrowing.”

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Economy

NSITF Clears theAir on N17.158 Billion Missing Vouchers

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The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has assured Nigerians that the 2018 Audit Report by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation which raised 50 queries on misappropriation of N17.158 billion has nothing to do with the current management which came into office on June 1, 2021.

A press statement signed by the fund’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Ijeoma Okoronkwo, said, “Though the current probe by the  Senate Committee on Public Accounts is in exercise of its statutory oversight functions, it is overly important to inform the general public that what is under investigation are not new infractions but a cumulative financial violations under the management that ran the agency between 2012 and 2017.

“These infractions are not new. They have in fact been the subject of a probe  since the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation first raised the red flag in 2015. We make it clear therefore, that the negative trails of these breaches, have nothing to do with the present management beyond assisting the Senate Committee to carry out its oversight functions knowing full well that government is a continuum.

“On record, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has probed and taken the former Chairman of the Board and  five other senior officials, including the Managing Director and three Directors to court over some of the issues. Huge sums of money as well as property were also recovered, while some of the indicted staff members were equally removed from office.

“Indeed, when the Senate Committee initiated this current probe, the Managing Director, Dr Michael Akabogu, set up an internal committee to retrieve from First Bank and Skye Bank, respectively detailed transactions involving the fund under the period in question. The documents were subsequently submitted to the Senate Committee.

“However, when the Senate Committee further called for the vouchers backing up the transactions, Dr Akabogu requested that the former Managing Directors under whose tenures the transactions were made, be invited to provide further answers especially with regards to the vouchers.

“The current management is not in possession of the vouchers and hence informed the Senate Committee that the contents of the container in the premises of the fund where the former Managing Directors allegedly left the vouchers have succumbed to the elements. And that this can be substantiated from memos, hitherto written by the fund’s General Services Department on the state of the facility in question.

“This statement has become necessary to forestall further wrong finger-pointing and mischief in a section of the media directed at the current management of the NSITF which has charted a new course with strategic reforms, strongly anchored on transparency and already producing positive results.”

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