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NAFDAC staff embark on strike, call on EFCC, ICPC to investigate agency over IGR

Workers in the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), have embarked on a 7-day warning state over non payment of allowances, poor working condition, severance allowance, training and many other issues.
The strike action commenced in the early hours of Thursday.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Vice Chairman of the Medical & Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), NAFDAC Branch,   Comrade Ejor Michael, and made available to journalists, Thursday.
This is even as some staff of the agency have called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the agency, over what they described as lack of transparency in the spending of the agency’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Union listed their grievances to include payment of promotion arrears, upward review of job specific allowance in line with minimum wage, trainings, complaint on delayed financial claims by staff, working environment, severance allowance, discriminatory payment of covid-19 palliative and staff bus.
According to the statement: “The Union is demanding for the payment of promotion arrears for 2018 and 2019 promotions owed their members (NAFDAC Staff). More worrisome is that, 2020 promoted staff will soon join the queue. This request has lingered for too long hence the strike action.
“Job specific allowance paid to staff of NAFDAC has not been reviewed for the past 10 years or so. Usually, every allowance increases correspondingly with increase in salary. But unfortunately, this has not been so with regard to the Job Specific Allowance. The Union is, therefore, demanding for a review of the said Job Specific Allowance in line with the current National Minimum Rate .
“The Management of NAFDAC hides under COVID-19 to avoid training of staff, despite the fact that trainings have resumed in other MDAs. The Union demands immediate resumption of training for their members.
“The Union is alarmed at the rate at which financial claims by staff are delayed without reasons given for non-payment not even to communicate the affected staff.
“The Union demands the immediate payment of all pending financial claims by their members.”
On poor working environment, the Union said: “The Union raised concerns on the not so conducive working environment in some of our offices and the non-equipping of the driver’s office particularly in Isolo, Lagos where drivers spend their personal money to put the office in good working condition.
“For instance, the situation where members of staff procure fans for office used by them was viewed as not normal and no longer acceptable.”
The statement further said: “The Union frowns at the suspension of Severance Allowance being paid to retirees despite the fact that this allowance has been approved by NAFDAC Governing Council and is contained in the Condition of Service for NAFDAC staff.
“The Union leadership is demanding for the immediate resumption of payment of this allowance to deserving beneficiaries.
“The Union is also demanding the purchase of staff busses for their members to alleviate the hardship associated with transportation to work.
“The Union particularly frowns at the poor conditions of staff buses used by staff and in some cases, some routes where staff live do not have buses.
“It is worthy of note, the NAFDAC Management is more concern with the procurement of Hilux Vehicles, as the Management recently purchased well over 50 Hilux Vehicles.
“The Union also frowns at the discriminatory payment of COVID-19 Palliative (allowance) by percentage as used by NAFDAC and or the non -payment of some staff.”
Meanwhile, a staff of the agency who pleaded anonymity, said that the workers are angry over several claims by the Director General that she had paid all the debt she inherited but that they are yet to see any visible change in the agency.
It would be recalled that at  a media briefing in August 2020, Dr. Adeyeye said: “I am happy to inform you that we have been able to pay our debts and we are also training our 2,200 members of staff to enhance competence, capability as well as productivity.”
She revealed that the sum of N7 billion was generated in 2017; while N2.5 billion and N3.1 billion were generated from the agency’s IGR windows in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The visibly angry NAFDAC staff said: “the DG told the world last year that she inherited a lot of debt from her predecessor and that she had paid all. If that is true, why is she unable to pay us our allowances.
“I can tell you authoritatively that NAFDAC is dead under the current DG. Nothing is happening in the agency.
“I call on the EFCC and the ICPC to intervene and unravel what is happening with our IGR and the entire funds of the agency.”
Several calls made to get the reaction of the NAFDAC resident media consultant were not responded to at the time of filing this report.

Written by ExpressDay

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