Business - News - February 26, 2021

NIPC governing council sues for truce, dialogue over workers’ strike

The Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on Friday sued for truce and dialogue between management and workers of the agency over the ongoing industrial action by staff which enters its third day.
Workers of the Commission embarked on an indefinite industrial action since Wednesday to demand the removal of the Executive Secretary, Yewande Sadiku, over what they called “executive felonies”.
The Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Yusuf Mustafa, listed some of the grievances of the protesting workers to include the alleged wrongful dismissal from service of some of the union members; implementation in breach of the July 17, 2020 agreement by the NIPC management; frustration of an inter-ministerial committee set-up to resolve myriads of establishment issues in the agency; the Executive Secretary’s violation of corporate governance code by undertaking unauthorized foreign travels that yielded no returns on public funds, and collecting foreign leave allowance promptly for three years outside the terms of engagement stated in her appointment.
Other grievances include the Executive Secretary’s refusal to obey the Minister of Labour and Employment directives on the issues; deliberate under-declaration of vacancies during the 2020 promotion period, and preferential use of Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) to favour selected staff close to the management against others; use of personal discretion and impunity in running the affairs of the Commission and usurping the functions/duties of desk officers thereby killing staff initiatives and moral.
The workers also complained about the NIPC management tampering with the result of the 2020 computer-based test (CBT) promotion exercise; manifest ineptitude in understanding the mandate of investment promotion; double standards and deliberate tardiness on all issues of staff welfare; know it all attitude that results in woeful failure and wastage of public funds; approving budgets partially implemented since 2018 due to her use of personal discretion and impunity, terrible staff working environment, and refusal to pay medical assistance to staff stricken by fatal illness, among others.
But in his reaction to the development, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Commission, Babangida Nguroje, expressed worry that so far issues underlining the crisis have not been resolved.
Mr Nguroje was particularly concerned about the impact of the strike over the past few days, which has resulted in the breakdown of activities in the Commission, including those of the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) and the One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC).
“The total lockdown of the NIPC premises does not depict that of the leading image building champion of the country.
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) which is mandated to amongst other things encourage, promote and coordinate investments in Nigeria, should be seen to specifically proactively project attractive investment image of Nigeria to the world at all times,” he said.
The Governing Council, the Chairman said, was fully aware of the issues raised by the leadership of the Union, adding that he was
saddened by this development, given that both Council and the NIPC Management have been working towards resolving the issues.
Most of these issues, he said, have already been resolved and implemented, while others are at various stages of resolution in consultation with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Chairman said the Council was also committed to continuing to work with relevant interest groups to consolidate the record initiatives and achievements made by the Commission in the past few years.
As the apex body of the Commission, he said the Council swiftly called on the Management and Union to as a matter of call to National service continue to engage in dialogue to deliberate and collectively work towards resolving all lingering issues.
“To this end, we plead with the Union to kindly end the industrial action and provide room for sincere deliberation, listing any
grievances and provision of timelines for resolving of such identified issues.
“The Governing Council is ready to listen to all issues that may require Council’s deliberation,
intervention, and further consideration in the shortest possible period,” he said.
This, he said, is to end the imbalances between Management and the Union, adding that the Council would continue to work closely with all parties to ensure a harmonious working environment for staff of the Commission for effective delivery of services to both domestic and foreign investors.

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