…As Buhari directs speedy, coordinated investigation for NDDC***
The Federal Government has inaugurated the Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel on the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to investigate the management of the Fund.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this in a statement signed by Mr Charles Akpan, Deputy Director, Head Press and Public Relations in the ministry on Thursday in Abuja.
Ngige while conducting the inauguration said that the panel on the NSITF was established “to check the observed infractions on the Financial Regulations, Procurement Act, Public Service Rules, and other relevant and extant documents” in the management of the fund of the NSITF.
Ngige, who was represented by Mr William Alo, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, charged the panel to “look into all the infractions of the Procurement Act and Financial Regulations raised by the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) Periodic Check Report 2015 – 2019″.
The minister also asked the panel to look into the Administrative Panel’s Report into same Periodic Report of the AGF but yet to be addressed to date.”
He said that the other terms of reference for the panel include “to look into the same issues above raised in 2018, 2019 Budget Performance Utilisation in the Procurement, particularly Training.
He also said the panel should to look into other issues that was raised by the Joint Committees of the National Assembly on Labour and Employment and Productivity during the 2020 Budget Defence in December 2020 among others.
Ngige also charged the panel to look into cases of Gross Misconduct of officers, as well as investigate any other matter that would help in strengthening the operations of the Fund, and make appropriate recommendations.
The Panel has Mr Ibrahim Khaleel of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), as Chairman, and Mrs E. E. Ogriki, Director, Human Resources, National Productivity Centre (NPC), as Secretary.
The other members of the Panel include Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, Director, Occupational Safety and Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment; Umma Aminu Dutse, Director, Human Resources, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); and Mr B.O. C. Omogo, Director, Organisation Design and Development, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Other members of the Panel also comprises Mr Muhammed Katun Ahmed, Director, Audit and Monitoring, OAGF, Mr Nicholas Tor- Mtewave, Director, Audit, Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation, and Dr Onwusoro Maduka, Director, Procurement, Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The Panel has three weeks in the first instance to complete its assignment.
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) was established to provide compensation to insured employees who become casualties of occupational hazards in the course of employment, utilizing the financial contributions made by employers of labour.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for better coordination in the ongoing investigation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the investigating agencies in collaboration with the National Assembly.
A statement by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said Buhari stated this while reacting to unfolding drama, which includes attacks and counter-attacks between and around persons, institutions, and the NDDC.
The president warned that the affected investigators must ensure that the administration’s effort to bring sanity, transparency and accountability to the management of the large amount of resources dedicated to the development of the Niger Delta sub-region is not derailed.
President Buhari expressed his strong determination to get to the root of the problem undermining the development of the Niger Delta and its peoples in spite of enormous national resources voted year after year for this singular purpose.
According to the directive, auditing firms and investigative agencies working in collaboration with National Assembly Committees to resolve the challenges in the NDDC must initiate actions in a time-bound manner and duly inform the Presidency of the actions being taken.
The president also directed timely sharing of information and knowledge in a way to speedily assist the administration to diagnose what had gone wrong in the past and what needs to be done to make corrections in order to return the NDDC to its original mandate of making life better for people in Niger Delta.
According to him, the administration wants to bring about “rapid, even and sustainable development to the region.”
He, therefore, gave firm assurance that his administration would put in place a transparent and accountable governance framework, not only in the NDDC but in all other institutions of government.