by Aljazirah news | November 25, 2021 12:10 pm
Abdul lateef Bamgbose
In spite of widespread claims that there is a general embargo in employment in the nation’s ministries, department and agencies, MDAs, the Senate has raised the alarm over secret engagements in the civil service.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character, Senator Danjuma La’ah told journalists yesterday after submitting his committee’s report to the Committee on Appropriation that the lingering forms of criminality in the country is caused by the heightening rate of unemployment even as he lamented the secret employment going on in federal agencies.
He noted with concern a situation where some ministries and agencies of government engage in secret and selective employment of friends, relations and cronies of highly ‘connected individuals ‘while giving a general notion that embargo on employment subsists.
“Some people are taking advantage of the situation ,embargo on employment, but our committee is desirous of doing the right thing. We are determined that there should be jobs for the graduates that we have in this country, no matter what it takes.
“We discovered that young Nigerians who graduated from higher institutions some 15 years ago had yet to gain employment. The development had aggravated insecurity all over the places including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities.
“Our committee has been going to ministries, departments and agencies of government that they must start recruitment instead of doing secret replacements. We had even asked them to increase their personnel cost in their budgets so that they could employ people”, he noted.
According to the lawmaker;”Many people are being secretly employed but those in charge are claiming that there is an embargo on employment. I don’t know where they got that from. We have been asking them. The President never said there is an embargo on employment.
“There is no embargo anywhere but some of the officials of the government are so myopic that they decide to take advantage of the situation.
“I have been challenging those who are engaging in secret recruitments claiming there is an embargo to show us where they got the information from. This is the time for them to increase their personnel cost and make provision for employment.
“People are retiring voluntarily but we don’t know how they are being replaced. We must know the particular number of people they want to employ”.
On the reduction of the State House Clinic’s budget from N12bn to N11bn”, he said. “We discovered that there was a miscalculation and it would be corrected along the line. Apart from that, we are looking towards making sure that the hospital is up to the standard that Nigerians would be proud of.
“Everybody wants to know what would happen to the hospital but I’ve stood my ground. I’m doing everything it takes to make sure that it is completed and functioning well.
“We have insisted that our president doesn’t have to be rushed out of this country anytime there is an emergency without a place where he would be examined and stabilised before he would be flown out. The clinic is very important and we would leave a legacy behind”.
Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that efforts by the Federal Government to prioritize the safety and security of private sector investments across the country would guarantee an improved economy for Nigeria.
Lawan stated this on Wednesday in his remarks moments after the upper chamber considered a bill to enact the Public-Private Partnership Regulatory Commission Bill 2021.
The bill which scaled second reading during plenary was sponsored by Senator Muhammad AdamuAliero , APC, Kebbi Central.
According to the President of the Senate, the provision of a safe environment which allows ease of doing business would encourage public-private partnerships needed to drive investments and develop the various sectors of the economy.
He, therefore, called on the executive to ensure that the Public-Private Partnership Regulatory Commission bill, is assented into law when eventually passed by the National Assembly.
Lawan said, “Let me say that our country at this point and, indeed, at any point, should embark on public private partnership to ensure that we free our scarce resources for social development, particularly education and health, and similar sub-sectors.
“I believe that at this point in our history, with very limited resources, we need to encourage the private sector to participate in the development of infrastructure in our country.
“And of course, this is the practice, but one thing is clear, that we have to provide a convenient and safe environment for the public and private sector to be convinced that their investments would provide the kind of return that they aspire to get, and that there’s the legal framework to protect their investments.
“No matter how hard we wish to encourage the private sector to participate in our economy, if the investments do not appear to be fully protected, or they feel unsafe, we will be disappointed.
“So, I believe that this is a very important bill. And it is for us in government; both the executive and the legislature, particularly the two arms government, to work hard to provide the kind of climate of ease of doing business, security and safety to promote and protect private sector investments in our country.
“I believe that Nigeria has the kind of population that will encourage any private sector investment to come.
“What may be a setback at the moment, is the security challenge that we face, but thank God we are doing well and would continue to do so, but this is one bill that all of us in the legislature and executive arm of government would like to see become a law that will also be fully implemented for the benefit of our country”.
Senator Aliero, in his lead debate on the Public-Private Partnership Regulatory Commission Bill 2021, said the piece of legislation seeks to repeal the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Act 2005 and enact the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission Bill 2021.
According to the lawmaker, “One of the major challenges affecting the growth of the Nigerian economy is the huge deficit in both the areas of social and economic infrastructure; roads, railway, seaports, and airports, the provision of affordable health care and medical facilities to mention a few.
“To bridge this gap, massive investments must be made in the expansion of the country’s infrastructure services well beyond the resources and capacity of the government, which has been solely responsible for the provision of such infrastructure”.
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Works.
The committee was given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.
In another development, the House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the 774,000 special public works programme of the FG.
The lower chamber has mandated its committees on labour, appropriation, poverty alleviation and other relevant committees to probe the implementation of the scheme.
This resolution was the outcome of a motion moved by Gudaje Kazaure , APC, Jigawa, on Wednesday, during plenary.
The scheme stirred controversy between the Minister of Labour and Productivity ,State, Festus Keyamo, and the members of the National Assembly in 2020.
About N52 billion was allocated for the Special Public Works Programme in the 2020 budget. It is aimed at employing 774,000 citizens, about 1000 from each of the 774 local government areas in the country
Mr Keyamo had accused the National Assembly of trying to highjack the programme.This led to a clash between the lawmakers and Mr Keyamo when it was first initiated.
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