NSITF management spent N3.4bn on ‘non-existent’ training —Ngige

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige has accused the embattled management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) of lavishing N3.4 billion on “non-existent staff training split into about 196 different consultancy contracts in order to evade the Ministerial Tenders Board and Federal Executive Council (FEC) approvals.”

The Minister insisted that the suspension of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of NSITF, Adebayo Somefun and ten other officials of the agency followed due process.

Ngige was responding to a letter written by the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Timothy Olawale, challenging the suspension of the management of NSITF by Ngige, saying that the decision violated the disciplinary procedure approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement on Saturday in Abuja by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, the minister insisted that the removal of the NSITF management followed due process because it is a parastatal owed by the Federal Government. According to the statement, the minister acted in line with the Constitution, Public Service Rules and NSITF Act.

“Some of the infractions uncovered include N3.4 billion squandered on non-existent staff training split into about 196 different consultancy contracts in order to evade the Ministerial Tenders Board and Federal Executive Council, FEC, approval. Non-existent unexecuted N2.3 billion was documented and paid while N1.1 billion is awaiting payment without any job done, all totaling N3.4 billion.

“Same goes for projects of construction of 14 Zonal/ Regional offices in 14 states running into billions of naira- a policy issue being done without Board or Ministerial knowledge not to talk of approval. This was done in 2019 by the MD and his three-man Executive. Some of the projects are duplications and hence waste of funds, yet you are in the Board supposedly supervising!”

“NECA leadership should have been more restrained and responsive to the mantra of this administration like their NLC counterparts as the NSITF is a federal government parastatal, operating within the realm of the Constitution, Public Service rules and the NSITF Act, which empowers the Minister to recommend fit and proper person to Mr. President for appointment for the post of Chairman, Managing Director and the three Executive Directors for the day to day Management of the agency.”

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