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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has reacted to claims that the civil service plans to lay off some government workers as the government plans to merge Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government. It had been reported that names of the workers who will lose their jobs have been compiled.
The merger is happening to enable the government save cost amidst the Coronavirus. And the consolidation of MDAs is expected to affect some civil servants. But according to Ngige, there are no names compiled. He said if such has been done by heads of the MDAs, the government will not approve.
He said if such action is taking place, his Ministery and the head of service would have received petitions on the decision. Ngige made this know while commenting on the impact of implementing the Stephen Oronsaye Committee report on MDAs.
"I am not aware, I don’t think there is an iota of truth to it. But if you know the MDAs you can let us know but I am not aware. If there is such thing happening in MDAs, the National Civil Service Union and Association of Senior Civil Servants they would have petitioned myself and the Office of the HoS. It is only the Office of the HoS that can do that. If there are parastatals doing that they must first seek the permission of their parent ministry before doing that.
"So I am not aware and I don’t think it is true but if it is true then such an agency and the head of that agency, they are on their own. They don’t have our approval for now to even compile any names not to talk about putting them (workers) on compulsory leave. I do know that in the NDDC, there were some people put on compulsory leave but that’s an administrative matter.
"When some people are being investigated and they don’t want them to interfere with the investigation, government usually ask such people to go on leave. If there is even a first line discovery of breach of rules in terms of maybe procurement, in terms of fraud, government can place you on suspension. This is what I know as far as that issue is concerned." He told The Nation.
Impact of Merger On MDA Jobs
Ngige further stated that the government will fix workers affected by the eventual merger into other positions in the MDAs. He didn't confirm an alright downsizing, but said any worker will to resign, the government will welcome such decision and compensate them accordingly.
"Of course when you merge agencies and parastatals – we don’t think so many of them will be merged, but when they are merged, the target is for us to save money in terms of running cost. But where also you have personnel overlap we will look for a way first to redistribute the overlap or the surplus personnel to those who have need for them.
"So we will send them to where they are needed. If you come back to a parastatal with the same schedule, of course, one has to go to another institution and in an institution where you have persons either leaving the service or dropping out from the service, those people will take those personnel.
"The main idea being that government is not desirous to lay people off. But if Los, you have places where you have surplus personnel and some people opt to go, of course government will accept such voluntary withdrawal of service and we will also pay the necessary emolument for such officers to depart the service." Ngige said.
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