By Benjamin Arida://
Senate has kicked against the N324 million productivity allowance to staff of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC without approval from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, NSIWC.
The upper legislative chamber, through its Committee on Public Accounts, hinged the rejection of illegal increment of the allowance on the query in the 2016 Audit report of the Auditor General for the Federation, AuGF.
Tagged as Productivity Allowance, the increment was done with payment voucher dated April 13, 2015 without approval from the NSIWC, which is the legitimate body to approval allowance.
However, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye admitted that approval has not been granted by NSIWC, but work is still ongoing on the approval from the Commission.
“The Productivity Allowance predated me and there was no excuse at all, the continuation of it is what I met, we are waiting for the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to regularize it, our staff are poorly paid and I have said it in different fora,” she explained.
The Acting Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hadejia therefore stepped down the query till the NAFDAC obtained the approval for the increment from NSIWC.
The query had stated: “A payment voucher no. 29519 dated 13/04/2015 was raised for payment of 2014 Productivity Allowance to staff amounting to N323,678,741.97 (Three hundred and twenty-three million, six hundred and seventy-eight thousand, seven hundred and fortyone naira, ninety-seven kobo).
“However, the authority from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) giving legitimacy to the payment of this allowance as was the case with NAFDAC‟s salaries and other allowances, was not seen. Consequently, the Director-General was requested to produce evidence of NSIWC approval for payment of Productivity Allowance as part of the remuneration package of the agency, failing which full recovery should be effected from the salaries of the beneficiaries.
“The Director-General’s explanation of obtaining the approval of the NAFDAC Council or Honourable Minister of Health is not tenable because the appropriate authority in such matters is the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
“The Director-General should produce the approval of the Commission or recover the payments from the beneficiaries as initially requested.”