New Budget Cycle: Federal Civil Servants remain idle, waiting for mandate
…most MDAs empty
…as Amaechi pays surprise visit to ministry
…discovers offices abandoned before closing time
Due to the re-introduction of the January to January Budget cycle in 2020, federal civil servants have remained idle as Ministries, Departments, Agencies, MDAs wait for mandate to spend.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) recalls the President Muhamnadu Buhari administration last year made move to ensure that the January to January budget cycle is re-introduced in 2020.
The National Assembly broke the almost 10 years jinx by ensuring Nigeria gets back to the traditional January to January budget cycle.
However, TNG probe into this development revealed that activities at the Federal Secretariat has remained at its lowest ebb three weeks into the new year.
A visit to the Federal Secretariat in the capital city clearly indicates that the ever busy Secretariat was almost empty as civil servants remain idle.
The federal ministry of health and education looked like an abandoned property in the early hours of Thursday.
A civil servant who spoke to TNG under the condition of anonymity said “before the budget cycle of January to January we return unspent money to the Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) but we had thought the new cycle will translate to immediate release of 2020 budget funds.
“It’s not that the money is not there it’s there but we can’t touch it till when we get a mandate to spend it from FG. As you can see activities here are slow because people just come and show their faces and go back home to relax.
“But one thing is certain, once January salary is paid next week, this whole Secretariat will be its old self again bubbling with activities. As for the mandate we are sure it will be given soon to enable us start full operations,” the source said.
The situation was not different when the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi paid a surprise visit to various offices to ascertain the level of commitment by members of staff in his ministry.
Mr Gift Okpara, the Media Aide to the minister, in a statement on Thursday, said Amaechi embarked on the unscheduled visits round the nine story building of the ministry interacting with workers on Wednesday.
Okpara said while visiting the 9th floor, the minister observed a dilapidated area of the building which posed as a threat to workers safety, and directed that it be fixed without further delay.
“Amaechi observed at the time of his visit that most offices were already deserted by workers before the official closing time of 4 p.m.
“The very few who were present were either listening to music on their phones or dormant.
“He frowned at the nonchalant attitude and act of truancy displayed by some of the workers towards their jobs for which they are being paid for by the Federal Government,’’ the aide stated.
According to Okpara, the minister frowned at the way the offices were unclean and promised to meet with the Permanent Secretary and leaders of the Civil Service Union of the ministry over it.
“He said he would ensure that workers who do not add value to governance are redeployed immediately,’’ he stated.
The Chairman, Joint Union Negotiation Council (JUNC), of the ministry, Mr Kolawolu Femi, who accompanied the minister on the tour described the minister’s visit to the offices as timely and as a welcomed development.
Okpara quoted Femi as saying that the act would no doubt encourage and boost staff morale in the discharge of their official assignments.
He said that the minister’s visit to offices would avail him the opportunity of seeing things for himself and proffer solutions where necessary and to interact with the staff present.
“On absenteeism by workers at the time of Amaechi’s visit, Femi said there was an ongoing training programme which most staff were attending and some others were observing their annual leave.
“The union leader also used the opportunity to appeal to the minister to address the issue of insufficient office spaces for staff to curb the issue of overcrowding in some of the offices,’’ Okpara said.
Some of the staff present said they were surprised to see the minister inspecting their offices as no past minister had done so in their time.
While expressing satisfaction with the tour, some of the staff said the ministers’ visit was a thing of joy that will remain memorable for having one-on-one interaction with the minister in their offices.