Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, Monday, said the service would consider increasing salaries of civil servants if public servants are ready to sit-up.
She stated this at a meeting of the separate and joint public service negotiating councils, with the theme: “Labour/government relations in the post COVID-19 era,” in Abuja.
She confirmed that last week, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at an event they both attended, said the salaries of civil servants is “nothing to write home about,” but however, explained that the statement will be given priority only when workers sit-up and work harder.
According to her, “salaries of civil servants would increase only when they sit-up and take responsibility. This is so because accompanying the salary increment would demand responsibility as well as sanctions and consequences for inactions.
“If the federal government says it will increase salaries, we must be ready to play our parts and do the work that has been committed to us. We must step-up our game as civil servants. We must encourage self development. As union leaders, let’s be forward looking.”
She further pledged her commitment to the welfare of public servants. Explaining some additions to the Public Service Rules, PSR, Yemi-Esan said public servants will now be encouraged to engage in Information and Communication Technology, ICT, and agricultural business value chain, provided it does not conflict with their official duties.
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She added that five per cent of all employment opportunities in the public service shall be reserved for persons living with disabilities.
In line with Presidential directive that public servants would either tender negative test results or present evidence of COVID-19 vaccination to gain access to their offices.
The Head of Service noted that the office has directed the setting up of more locations at the Federal Secretariat Complex, Phases I & II, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, where civil servants can be vaccinated for free.
Speaking also, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, commended the federal government for the N30,000 minimum wage, but urged the Civil Service to review salaries as well as the welfare of public servants.
Wabba maintained that the federal government could consider allocating affordable houses to civil servants and also make use of consultants in the service.
He said, “Minimum wage is a service wide issue. There’s difference between review of salaries and minimum wage in the public service. The civil servants, particularly those in the core ministries, departments and parastatals are actually the least paid. And I think we have every reason to try to encourage them because they are the drivers of government policies and programs.
“Improving the welfare of public servants is also a key issue. Gone are the days when public servants used to have houses allocated to them. We must go back to our policies. Government can allocate affordable houses to workers and they can pay overtime, I think it will be a good idea to have such a process brought back.”
Earlier, in her welcome address, Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office and Chairman, National Public Service Negotiating Councils, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, said there is the need to strengthen collaborations between the civil service and unions.
“We are reawakening our consciousness on the need to maintain industrial peace and harmony towards improving effective and efficient service delivery in the public service, taking cognisance of current economic relates occasioned by the ongoing pandemic and impact in the public service,” she said.