Xmas: Buhari approves N72billion for salaries

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday approved additional N71.8 billion to augment shortfall in the 2016 budgetary allocation for payment of delayed workers salaries, a national daily has reported.

This will enable the government pay thousands of workers who are owed November and December salaries.

The amount is part of the N213 billion virement assented to by Buhari Thursday, it was learnt.

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Sources had initially said that the president had withheld assent because the National Assembly  increased the budget by N33billion, but he was persuaded to sign the virement to enable some agencies pay workers salaries before Christmas.

The Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun had explained inability of some government agencies to pay November salaries saying the shortfall is to be augmented through the virement.

She told State House reporters after cabinet meeting on Wednesday that “What we did in the virement we sent to the National Assembly, which the National Assembly approved, was that we listed all the agencies that had problems with their salaries and applied to National Assembly. We had to go back to the National Assembly to ask for an increase in the budgetary allocation of those agencies.”

The president sent the virement proposal of N180.8 billion to the National Assembly on October 26, 2016, requesting the approval for the N166.6billion for special intervention (recurrent) and N14.2 billion for special intervention (Capital Supplementation).

Several government agencies could not pay November salaries including the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC). Adeosun said “All the agencies have an allocated IPPIS which is the salary platform. If for example an agency has a N12bn salary for the year, we insist they continue to pay until that N12bn is exhausted.

“Instead of taking N1bn a month, such agencies were taking N1.2bn or N1.3bn. So, by the time it got to October, many agencies had exhausted their allocations.

The approved virement provides N71.8billion for settlement of the Public Service Wage Adjustment (PSWA). Other provisions are: Contingency N1.2billion; margin for increase in cost (MIC) N2billion; cadet feeding (Police Academy, Kano) N932million and Amnesty Programme N35billion.

There is also internal operation of the Armed forces N5.2billion, Operation Lafiya Dole N13.9 billion, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) N19.7billion, Foreign Missions N14.6billion and augmentation of meal subsidy/ direct teaching and laboratory cost N900million.

For statutory transfer, N1.2bilion was approved for the Public Complaints Commission.

In the area of capital, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will get N12.7billion and Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) is to receive N1.5billion.

It was learned that there was little delay on the approval by the president due to the increment of about N33billion by the senate over his original request.

Analysis of the figure shows that the National Assembly added N25billion for payment of local contractors and other liabilities as well as N5billion for the SDG Housing under the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. The request for foreign missions was also increased by N1.74 billion from the original request.

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