Why FG can’t consider pay rise now – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari said in Abuja on Friday that the civil service remained the engine room of government and should attract the “best and brightest” who would fuel politicians with new ideas, while assuring that the report of the white paper d ‘Orosanye would be implemented after consideration.
“I have ordered that the Orosanye white paper report be submitted for immediate review to allow the government to take the most appropriate decision on its general recommendation,” the president told the Central Working Committee of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) at the State House.
“I am aware that the review is nearing completion. Although some may complain about the time it has taken so far, the outcome of the various review teams would lead to fundamental changes in the structure of our public service and as such it must undergo rigorous scrutiny and scrutiny before it is introduced and implemented,” he said.
The President said that the Secretary to the Federation Government will submit the harmonized white paper once it is completed.
He assured that the current administration remains focused on strengthening the service and ensuring that it helps the government achieve its goals.
The President said the government understands the role of public service in formulating and implementing policies to deliver socio-economic and political benefits to our citizens.
“This administration remains focused on strengthening the service and ensuring it helps the government achieve its goals. The civil service should not be seen as a dumping ground for job seekers, but should attract the best and the brightest who will bring fresh ideas and a determination to solve our socio-economic problems.
The President appreciated the civil servants for their role in achieving the administration’s goals.
“The role and importance of the public service cannot be overstated. A strong civil service is the foundation on which good governance, policy execution and channels for the distribution of democratic dividends can be achieved.
“I am further delighted to note your recognition of the tremendous strides this administration has made since its inception in repositioning the federal public service for greater productivity and improved performance. I note the various milestone achievements you have listed which symbolize our commitment to public service despite the many challenges we have faced since beginning this journey,” he said.
Regarding the Committee’s request for a review of civil servants’ salaries, the President recognized the urgent need for a general salary review in the federal public service due to the global problems of high inflation in the context of general economic disruption.
“I wish to urge you to appreciate the revenue constraints the government is currently facing, primarily due to the activities of unscrupulous citizens through the theft of our crude oil, a major contributor to our revenue base.
“This is compounded by the global economic downturn resulting from the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, which has resulted in price increases not only in the costs of goods and services globally, but also in the transportation of those goods and services across the globe.
The president said the investment in security assets had been very expensive, after decades of neglect.
The President also told the ASSN Central Working Committee that the demand for reinstatement of gratuity payment to civil service employees was one of the landmark provisions addressed in the 2004 Pension Reform Act.
“Therefore, the implementation of your demand for the payment of a large sum of gratuity to retired civil servants would go against the intention and the provisions of the law.
“It must be recognized that a change in the application of the law would require an amendment by the National Assembly. But more importantly, the Pension Reform Act is a better designed and more robust system that provides security for pensioners’ funds and their payment,” he said.
Concerning the harmonization of salaries in the public service, the President indicated that a committee has been created for this purpose, under the supervision of the Minister of Finance, who is still in office.
“A report is expected, to be submitted at the end of his mission, which would be studied for further action.
“Allow me to thank you once again for this visit and to reassure you that this administration will not tolerate any policy that would destabilize the service.
“I therefore implore you to always recognize your very important role as the engine room of government, regardless of the political party in power. This is the main reason why you must remain non-partisan in carrying out your duties.
Mentions of the ASCSN
In his remarks, ASCSN President Dr Tommy Okon said the administration had been “workers friendly” with the implementation of wide-ranging reforms, which include the regular payment of wages and allowances , raising the minimum wage, extending the retirement age of some workers, such as teachers, and maintaining the size of the civil service despite funding constraints.
He called for an increase in the salaries of civil servants following the increase in the cost of living, the restoration of full payment of gratuities on retirement, the harmonization of civil service salaries and allowances and the increase in the National Housing Fund budget.
He said the rising cost of living had made it difficult for many civil servants to continue despite the minimum wage review, stressing that the benefits of all civil servants should also be harmonized for greater fairness.
“There should be equal pay for jobs of equal value,” he said.
He commended the President for ensuring access and inclusion in governance, pointing out that this was the first time the association had met with the President of the country.