Ngige inaugurates NSITF board, caution against award of contracts

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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.

Members of newly inaugurated board and management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall

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.

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“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.

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“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.

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