President Buhari, on Monday, gave accent to the suspension of tenure policy in the Federal Civil Service, a day after he resumed from official vacation during which he sought medical attention in London for a persistent ear infection.
It is feared that the new policy will prepare ground for a massive shake-up in the top echelon of the civil service, with attendant job losses down the line running into thousands.
The tenure policy, introduced by late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009 sets a four-year tenure, renewable only once for permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service in line with the 1999 Constitution.
Federal Directors are also beneficiaries of the scheme which prescribes 60 years of age and 35 years of service for mandatory retirement.
The new directive contained in a circular to all Ministries Departments and Agencies, MDAs, and signed by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita reads: “The President has directed the suspension of tenure policy with immediate effect and all concerned are to comply accordingly.”
The new policy direction is seen as a desperate move by the government to trim its huge wage bill which had become difficult to manage in the face of dwindling revenue made worse by crash in global oil price and renewed insurgency in the Niger Delta.
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Early in the life of the administration, the government had sent signals that it would battle the bloated work force in the civil service by dealing with the incidence of ghost workers.
The Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, reported in the first quarter of the year that government, through its internal mechanisms, had fished out over 50,000 ghost workers which helped to put rising wage bills in check.
Ripples Nigeria investigations, however, show that the new move is largely pre-emptory, and meant to stave off the avalanche of protests or legal queries that will arise with the planned purge of top officers and other cadres in the civil service.
Our sources add that the move is orchestrated and intended to check the restiveness in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) where many senior party faithful have waited endlessly for “settlement” through appointments into the civil service.
Recently, the federal government has had to contend with alleged recruitment scandals in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
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