Ngige inaugurates NSITF board, caution against award of contracts
The minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has cautioned the board and management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) against award of contracts.
Ngige, who handed down the warning while inaugurating the new board of NSITF at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall on Monday in Abuja, said that award of contracts was not within the obligations of the board.
Prince Austin Enajemo-Isire was named the chairman of the 12-member board, while Mrs Ijeoma Okoronkwo, Deputy General Manager, NSITF, was named Board Secretary.
Other members are: Olawale Timothy representing Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr Mohammed Yinusa, NECA President, Comrade Waheed Adeyanju, representing NLC, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, NLC.
Also in the board are Ifeoma Anyawutaku, representing Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs Dutse Aminu, representing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Jasper Azutalam, NSITF, Tijani Darazo, NSITF, Titola Nelson, NSITF and Adebayo Somefun, NSITF.
Ngige has been at loggerheads with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over his failure to inaugurate NSITF board with Frank Kokori as the chairman.
NLC members on May 8 picketed Ngige’s Abuja residence with allegations that labour protesters were manhandled by the minister’s loyalists, allegation Ngige denied.
Ngige had argued that, as the minister permitted by law to make a recommendation, he did not recommend Kokori.
The minister told the new members of the board that they were men and women of esteemed integrity, who by their antecedents had proven themselves worthy of the appointment.
“You should particularly note that boards are not to award contracts as there are Parastatals Tenders Board put in place for such purposes, guided by the Public Procurement ACT (PPA), 2007.
“In this wise, the Parastatals Tenders Board should strictly adhere to the prevailing thresholds for contract for Consultancy/Supplies of Goods and for Construction.
“Expenditure thresholds that are above the Parastatals Tenders Board should be forwarded to the Ministerial Tenders Board (MTB) for approval and from there to the Federal Executive Council(FEC), if the threshold is above the MTB’s approval limit,” he said.
Ngige said that the function and operations of the board were regulated by various Federal Government circulars which were being made available to the board members.
Ngige urged the board to take issues of staff welfare, proper placement among others seriously.
“Be mindful of the general principle which states that nominal board members are not to be involved in the day to day running of the Fund.
“In this regard, you are particularly to be guided by Circular No. SGF.OP/1/S.3/T.1/142 dated Aug. 2, 1999 and Guidelines to Administrative Procedure in the Federal Public Service.
“In terms of remuneration for the board chairman and members, please be guided by circulars Ref. Nos. SWC/S/04/S.310/105 dated June 10, 2010, and SGF.OP/1/S.3/X/804 dated Oct. 23, 2015 respectively.
“The Managing Director and Executive Directors are to be guided by their letters of appointment issued to them by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“For others, the NSITF Act, on powers of the minister to provide from time to time the remuneration and allowances of members of the board applies. Fortunately this is also in alignment with the circulars above.”
He said that the board members’ remuneration had been clearly spelt out as to what to be paid for board meetings and for travels both within and outside the country.
The minister said that salaries and emoluments of staff members were fixed by the board, but subject to the ratification by the supervising ministry and subsequent confirmation by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
Ngige regretted that the last board and management of the NSITF left negative trails inimical to development and progress for both the human and infrastructural components of the agency.
Responding on behalf of other board members, Enejemo-Isire, thanked God, President Buhari and Ngige for the opportunity given to them to serve.
He pledged that the board would not betray the confidence reposed in it.