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FG removes 23,846 ghost workers from payroll

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  • As Osun workers demand full salary from Aregbesola

Following the ongoing BVN-based staff audit and enrollment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, the Federal Government has detected and removed 23,846 non-existent workers from its payroll.

A statement by Special Assistant, Media to the Minister of Finance, Festus Akanbi, yesterday confirmed that following the audit exercise, the salary bill for this month had reduced by N2.293bn when compared to the wages paid in December 2015 when the BVN audit process commenced. The ministry stated that the figure represented a percentage of the number of non-existent workers who had hitherto been receiving salary from various ministries, departments and agencies.

It stated that the findings showed that some civil servants’ salaries were not consistent with the names linked to the accounts into which their salaries were paid. The statement added that some individuals in this category were either receiving salary payments from multiple sources, parastatals or they were non-existent workers.

It was further explained that the investigation of other suspected cases continues in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The ministry also hinted that Federal Government, in collaboration with the concerned banks and the National Pension Commission (Pencom) was also taking actions to pursue recovery of salary balances in bank accounts as well as any pension contributions in respect of the deleted workers.

“The Federal Government is also taking actions to pursue recovery of salary balances in bank accounts as well as any pension contributions in respect of the deleted workers. “This involves active collaboration with the concerned banks and the National Pension Commission (Pencom),” the statement said.

It reported also that the Military Pension Board had revised the amount payable for its due pension contributions on a monthly basis by N575m, following its annual verification exercise for military retirees. With the development, it stated that this reduced the number of pensioners by 19, 203 as a result of deaths since the last verification exercise in 2012 even as it restated Federal Government’s determination to continue the verification programme on a regular periodic basis in its efforts to reduce personnel cost.

The ministry clarified: “Due to the fact that personnel costs represent over 40 per cent of total government expenditure, the Federal Government would continue to strengthen its payroll controls. “It plans to undertake periodic checks and to utilise Computer Assisted Audit Techniques under its new Continuous Audit Programme.

“This will ensure that all payments are accurate and valid. Requirements for new entrants joining the federal civil service have also been enhanced to prevent the introduction of fictitious employees in future. “The ongoing exercise, which is part of the cost-saving and anticorruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, is key to funding the deficit in the 2016 budget, as savings made will ultimately reduce the amount to be borrowed.” On recent call by the leadership of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, that the panel members investigating cases of indicted civil servants be drawn from both government and labour, the ministry explained that the request could not be acceded to, as the investigations were of a criminal nature and would therefore be handled by appropriate investigative agencies.

In the meantime, labour leaders in Osun State have asked Governor Rauf Aregbesola to henceforth start paying salaries of all categories of workers in full.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Jacob Adekomi and Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Mr. Bayo Adejumo, made this demand at a press conference in Osogbo on Saturday.

They said labour leaders did not sign any agreement with the government that they would be collecting half salaries contrary to what some former commissioners and government appointees have been saying.

Workers from grade level 01-07 are being paid in full while those from level 08 and above have been receiving half salaries since July 2015 but the NLC said they did not sign this agreement with the government.

The labour leaders blamed some of the former aides of the governor for plunging the state into the financial crisis It was facing now because of their alleged recklessness.

The NLC chairman said, “Our demands are that government should start to to pay our 2014 bonus which was factored into the bailout given to the state.

National Mirror with additional report from Upshot

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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