Workers living abroad who earn salaries in Nigeria exposed – HOCSF

Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), said the recent physical verification exercise by her office, exposed workers living abroad but still earning salaries from the service.

Yemi-Esan revealed this during a chat with media executives on Wednesday in Abuja, being part of activities to mark 2024 Civil Service Week.

The theme for 2024 celebration is ‘Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa’.

The HoCSF said many of the civil servants, who were caught up in their games, had to resign their appointments, following their failure to carry out the physical verification exercise.

According to her, the verification exercise was one of the measures by her office, to check corrupt practices, run a smooth civil service and reposition the sector.

“Recently, there was a circular that went out to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that, they should do a physical headcount in their MDAs.

“That means, everybody on the nominal roll, that is receiving salaries, should appear physically and the names of those who did not show up for the exercise should be forwarded.

“In the circular, I cautioned that Permanent Secretaries and CEOs that give wrong information will be held liable if anything is discovered outside of the information that was given,” she said.

The HOCSF added that the decision by the government was that, after the exercise, they would stop the salaries of those, in one way or the other, had left the service without proper documentation, but still earning renumeration.

“From what I saw, the number of people that have gone out of the country and are still earning salaries, is more in the parastatals than in the core ministries.

“I actually called one of the heads of the agencies and queried why there is such a number of people earning salaries and are not on their desks.

“I asked how the agency come about such a huge number of the purported workers,” she said

Yemi-Esan said the reply she got was that some of the civil servants even returned from the UK for the verification exercise.

Yemi-Esan said: “The Head of that agency told me that he discovered that, a week after the verification exercise,  some of them rushed from the UK to the country, with the intention to do their own verification

“He said they came to him saying,  aah! Oga, we are around; we heard they did verification.

“The agency head, asked them to come back in two weeks time for their verification; knowing fully well that  nobody working in the UK, will be able to have such luxury of time,” she said.

The HOCSF said from the incident narrated to her, most of the affected workers had to resign their appointments because they knew that the game was over.

She decried the situation, where civil servants who did not have official permission to be out of their office, would travel out of the country for years, and still earning salaries.

Yemi-Esan added that such development was unacceptable, when there were millions of Nigerians waiting to be employed.

She also used the opportunity of the event, to appreciate media partners whom she described as “backbone for the successful reforms carried out” by her office since her assumption of duty.

Salary harmonisation, a gradual process – Yemi-Esan

Meanwhile, Dr Yemi-Esan has said the Federal Government has not abandoned the issue of salary harmonisation in the civil service.

Yemi-Esan made the disclosure during a chat with media executives on Wednesday in Abuja, being part of activities to mark 2024 Civil Service Week.

Yemi-Esan said salary harmonisation would go through gradual processes because it would be a difficult task to bring down those who were already receiving higher pay.

Civil servants in some federal parastatals agencies have been agitating over higher salaries being received by some civil servants in some other government agencies.

The situation had caused some civil servants to demand  harmonisation, so as to balance the gap, especially looking at the economic realities and the fact that they all go to the same market.

The HoCSF explained that in addressing the issue, the first step they took was the approval of peculiar allowance, which was being paid to civil servants, receiving low salary.

“It is going to be a continuous thing because, it is difficult to bring down people that are already receiving  higher salary.

“What we will continue to do, is to increase the take home of those on the lower rank untill we have the very needed balance.

“We have started working on this, that was why the 40 per cent peculiar allowance was given, in an effort to close that gap, ” she said.

Recall that there was an increase in salary, tagged ‘Consequential Allowance’, that led to a 40 per cent rise in the pay of certain low income earners in civil service during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

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