Hike in severance allowance sparks controversy in PENCOM


…Newly employed staff protest delayed assumption of duty


The National Pension Commission (PENCOM) is embroiled in a fresh controversy following 300 per cent hike in severance allowance for management staff and the increase of the number of general managers (GMs) by the acting Director General (DG), Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Umar.

Already, staffers of the commission are raising hell, saying the action does not make sense, coming at a time the nation is passing through economic crunch.

Daily Sun gathered that the management of PENCOM has started implementing the payment of 300 per cent increase in exit allowance, which was allegedly approved by the Secretary to the Government of the Federal (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha.
Also, the management of PENCOM has increased the number of General Managers (GMs) from 10 to 17.

In faulting the hike in allowance and increase in the number of GMs, some workers of PENCOM said only a full management board and governing board of the commission could effect such actions.

“Unfortunately, PENCOM has been run without a management or governing board since April 2017. So, this is what you get when you leave over N7 trillion asset to a sole administrator,” a source at the commission said.

In a related development, some newly recruited staff of the commission, whose assumption of duty was put on hold since May 2017 have petitioned SGF Mustapha, asking him to intervene in their plight.

On a letter dated March 8, 2018 and signed by Mustapha Sadiq and Ismail Gazali on behalf of others, the newly recruits said: “We write this letter as a group humbly seeking your kind intervention in the delay of our assumption of duty. Following the completion of an aptitude test and interview conducted in December 2016/January 2017, we were issued Letters of Employment by PENCOM, after which we signed and submitted acceptance letters with the commission accordingly.

“’As stated in our appointment letters, we were to assume duty on May 2nd and June 5th, 2017, respectively.  However, prior to our date of resumption, we were informed via telephone calls of indefinite postponement of our assumption of duty, a dilemma we have remained in till date, despite the fact that majority of us had resigned from our previous places of employment.

“We will like to appeal to you as a father to use your good offices and kindly intervene on our behalf to bring an end to our plight as life has ben very unbearable.”

In a reply dated April 4, 2018 referenced as 56331/S.3/C2/I/T/99, the Office of the SGF said, “a response from the Commission stated that the decision was based on the need to allow for a review of the earlier recruitment exercise(s) to: ensure compliance with Extant Laws and due process; recruitment within approved manpower establishment; and provide required infrastructure to accommodate new appointees.”

Sources at PENCOM have faulted the position of the government, saying the previous leaderships never employed unless as required by its manpower needs already captured in its approved budget by the National Assembly.

A  source said: “Everything was worked out, hence the candidates wrote a highly competitive aptitude test in December; successful ones were interviewed in January and those who did well were offered appointment about March and asked to resume in May.
“The real problem is that the Commission is top heavy. The Commission was doing so well with 10 GMs, but was increased to 17 recently. Can you imagine that? By the way, about six of them, including the acting DG, ought to have retired since December 2016.

Daily Sun gathered that after the suspension of the employment of the petitioners, PENCOM had engaged in two recruitment exercises, whose candidates have also not assumed office.

One of the workers of PENCOM said: “If the last batch of appointment, which went through due process, was defective, then the two previous batches of appointments, which went through the same due process must be defective then. The current management actually wanted to jettison them entirely to hire new ones under its leadership, but was informed it would open floodgate of litigations, especially since many of the newly recruited had resigned their previous appointments. It is for the same fear of litigations that the Commission has not formally written them. They merely called the newly employed by phone.”

-Culled from The Sun


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