Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday attributed the delay in signing the 2016 budget into law by President Muhammadau Buhari as the main reason why recruitment of 500,000 teachers across the country is being delayed.
Speaking as guest of a radio programme in Abuja over the weekend, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Chris Ngige, said the process of recruitment would commence immediately the 2016 budget is signed into law.
He said: “The ministry is waiting for the 2016 budget to be passed and when this is done we will then look at what is voted for us under that heading.”
He dismissed insinuation that the N500 billion earmarked for the project has been tinkered with, adding: “Nobody has tampered with that N500 billion, part of it is in recurrent and part is in capital expenditure.
“And so we will look at both subheadings that will enable us look at the financial disposition on that and also the recruitment will not be hijacked; and as a matter of fact the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has written us on that as they already have people trained in education though not employed.
“Also the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) have also written to say that they have recruited over 5,000 teachers out of 30,000 that applied. So the logical thing to do is that we will screen all these and those of them that are qualified will save us money that we would have used to do conversion and so we will take them and save some fund in the conversion programme.”
Asked on the ongoing underhand recruitment by CBN and FIRS, he said federal agencies cannot undertake recruitment without due process and recourse to the law as they have to advertise for their vacant spaces.
He said: “What the CBN and FIRS say they are they are doing because we have actually put out a letter, because we even put this new recruitment into our data base statistics of new jobs created in this period.
“What FIRS said is that what they are doing is replacement of officers who died or retired promptly and that when they want to do recruitment they will advertise. We will wait for them to do the normal which is the fact that they must advertise those jobs.”
He said the ministry intends to write FIRS on the proper perspective on what they are doing regarding employment in that agency, adding that CBN has tendered document to show that what they are doing is right.
The minister however said all agencies must advertise before recruitment. “And FIRS, for one, I know will do so because the work plan of the new FIRS involves them getting more hands for them to pursue tax collection more vigorously”, he said.
Ngige dismissed the 2009 National Action Plan on employment, adding that it was the result of a retreat and therefore not a policy of government.
He said: “We are reviewing that plan or resolution in that plan and taking out things that are not achievable as there is no room for false or fake promises or making regulations that cannot be obeyed.
“That is what is happening and this is one of the reports that is being treated now as we have formed internal ministerial committee to look at it and bring out a distillate and then we engage other sectors and other arms of government.”
On disparities of salaries between the various agencies of government, the minister said: “Government will undertake a holistic review of all these things, the ministry and the salary commission chairman have agreed because it is not only in the media that there are disparities, if you go the health ministry that is where it is worse. The industrial dispute in the health industry is so gargantuan and mind-boggling and I have two special committees that is looking at the problem”.