The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that the federal government is set to reduce its workforce.
The minister stated that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is designing what it calls an exit package for government workers that will be leaving the service.
The Nation quoted Zainab as saying that reducing the size of government has become imperative given the huge amount the government spends on recurrent expenditure annually.
She said the reduction will not entirely be in line with the Stephen Oronsaye report but based on a committee recommendation.
According to her, the government is working on an “exit package” to be paid to those that will be affected.
“There is a special committee led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) that is working on the review of agencies with the view to collapsing them partly using the Oransanye report,” the minister said.
“At the end of it what we want to do is to reduce the size of government and also to reduce the size of personnel cost and part of it will be designing the exit packages that are realistic”.
She disclosed that the workers would lose their jobs after the merger of some government agencies.
According to the minister, agencies would be merged because the government is “revenue-challenged”.
This has however not gone down well with labour unions in the country, with many calling for caution.
The unions have asked the Federal Government to ensure that those who would be affected by the downsizing be paid their full entitlements.
Presidents of two Federal Workers’ unions who spoke with The Nation are Comrade Lawrence Amaechi, President, Nigeria Civil Service Union and President, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Dr Tommy Okon.
In separate interviews, Amaechi said: “Before they implement they will put us in their committee and if we are satisfied that Mr A must go where is his cheque?
“If at the time of implementation we are satisfied that Mr A must go we will ask where is his cheque? Is it complete? Give it to him and he will go and better his life.
“The Oronsaye committee white paper has long been gazetted. At this point we cannot stop it. It is just to follow the implementation; how it will not affect our workers badly.
“When the implementation starts we will know how to fight it.”
On his part, President, ASCSN, Dr Okon, said: “We have to meet as a Congress and take a decision that will be all encompassing. I cannot speak on the position yet until we meet. Once we meet then we will make our position known.”
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