NIPC staff protests over mismanagement, poor working conditions

NIPC staff protests over mismanagement, poor working conditions
Protesting NIPC staff

The Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Chapter of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), on Thursday in Abuja embarked on a peaceful protest over alleged mismanagement of the Commission.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the members of staff who locked the entrance to the Commission pinned placards with different inscriptions on the gate..

NIPC is saddled with the responsibility to encourage, promote and coordinate investments into the Nigerian economy.

Mr Yusuf Mustapha, Chairman of the union said that the union had been embroiled in a struggle with the NIPC Executive Secretary Yewande Sadiku-led management to address pressing staff welfare issues and poor working conditions.

According to Mustapha, the management is deviating from NIPC core investment promotion mandates as well as casting aspersion on members of staff.

He listed other issues to include negative publicity on the NIPC, the investment promotion agency of the nation, adding that it was tantamount to economic sabotage and wastage of scarce resources on frivolous foreign trips.

Others, according to him are favouritism in Career Progression by creating service-based departments around personalities, lopsided posting of staff (with ethnic coloration) and double standard and deliberate tardiness on all issues of staff welfare.

The union chairman also decried poor understanding of Public Sector Financial Management leading to poor implementation of budgetary provisions and breach of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 safety guidelines.

He lamented that every attempt by staff meet with the management to resolve the issues had been met with lack of decorum, dishonesty and total disregard for them.

“It is on record avenues of civil negotiations and reconciliations have been exhausted by the union’s exco. The NIPC in its 20 years of existence has never been so broken, demoralised and polarised.

“As a result, the union under my leadership has taken decisive action to save our dear commission from this dire situation.

“Today, Thursday July 9, 2020, the union has initiated industrial action. I wish to seize this opportunity to thank members for their show of extreme patience and decorum in these trying times,” the union chairman said.

Mr Moses Manjuk, ASCSN, NIPC Chapter Vice Chairman also expressed dissatisfaction on the failure of the management to meet core mandates of the commission.

Manjuk said that the country was presently going through hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that there was the need for inflow of investments.

“Unfortunately, the agency that is saddled with the responsibility of doing that is not achieving that due to the mal administration by the management.

“We have been engaging the management to resolve these matters since 2019 but to no avail,’’ he said.

The union had earlier sent a letter titled ‘’ Avalanche of Ethical Issues Against the Executive Secretary of the NIPC’’ to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Responding, an official of the Commission who spoke under condition of anonymity confirmed the protest, describing it as “unexpected industrial action”.

“The NIPC management noted with great concern, the unexpected industrial action instituted by the leadership of the NIPC Staff Union, which they claimed was related to staff welfare matters.

“The managment had been working on embedding a culture of full compliance with all obligations and meeting its core mandate,” the official said.

According to the official, the Commission is proud that it is ranked the second best of the 191 Ministries Departments and Agencies assessed for 2019 National FOI Compliance and Transparency Ranking, up from 90th out of 131 agencies in 2016.

According to the management, it has made staff welfare and development a priority and major welfare improvements have been initiated without being prompted to stimulate productivity and ensure staff job satisfaction.

“The improvements include the introduction of a Productivity Allowance that rewards staff when budget targets are met, a Post Service Benefit Scheme, a Staff Housing Loan Scheme that can help with home ownership and Group Life Insurance Policy.

“In spite the disruptions to work schedules due to COVID-19 and only a partial resumption of work by all government agencies from May, management has been faithfully implementing the terms of an Agreement reached with the Union in late February.

“The approval of the NIPC Governing Council was secured on June 24, 2020 for the final items.

“As required by government policies for allowances created by the Governing Council, final clearance from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) is being vigorously pursued,’’ it said.

The management reaffirmed its commitment to building a commission motivated to achieving the goals and objectives of its establishment, adding that it would continue to dialogue with the union to resolve their concerns.

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