The Senate has refused a N323 million productivity allowance for staff of National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) without approval from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC).
Its Public Accounts Committee hinged the rejection on the query raised in the 2016 Auditor General of the Federation report.
The perk was captured via a payment voucher dated April 13, 2015 without sanctioning from the NSIWC –the legitimate body for approval of allowances.
Speaking, NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, acknowledged that the approval was ongoing.
She said: “The Productivity Allowance predated me. We are waiting for commission to regularise. Our staff are poorly paid, and I have said it at different fora.”
The acting chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hadeja, subsequently, stepped down the query pending when NAFDAC gets official nod.
The query had read: “A payment voucher no. 29519, dated 13/04/2015, was raised for payment of 2014 Productivity Allowance to staff amounting to N323,678,741.97.
“However, the authority from the NSIWC, giving legitimacy to the payment of this allowance as was the case with NAFDAC’s salaries and other allowances, was not seen.”
Adeyeye was, therefore, requested to produce evidence of NSIWC approval, failure for which full recovery should be effected from the salaries of the beneficiaries.
“The Director-General’s explanation of obtaining the approval of the NAFDAC Council or Honourable Minister of Health is not tenable because the appropriate authority in such matters is the NSIWC.
“The Director-General should produce the approval of the commission or recover the payments from the beneficiaries as initially requested,” the panel chair stated.