The Senate, through its Committee on Public Accounts, Monday, queried the Board of Directors of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) Plc over N14 billion spent on salary increase to all its staff without the approval of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC).
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ahmed Wadada, raised the issue as contained in the 2019 Audit report forwarded to it by the Office of the Auditor–General for investigation.
The Auditor-General in the report had stated that, “Between 2016 and 2019, the NSPMC Board of Directors approved N14 billion for salaries and allowances without approval of the salaries and wages regulatory body.
“Under Article 3, the NSIWC Act, 1990 stipulated that the Commission shall advise the Federal Government on national incomes policy; recommend the proportions of income growth which should be utilised for general wage increase and inform the Federal Government of current and incipient trends in wages and propose guidelines within which increase in wages should be confined, among others.
In his written submission, however, the Managing Director of NSPMC, Ahmed Halilu claimed that the company did not need any approval from the salaries and wages regulatory body because it was registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
When confronted with the report during the investigative session of the committee, Halilu later admitted that it was wrong not to seek approval from the NSIWC before implementing the new salaries and allowances increase for the company.
“It has come to our notice that we must obtain approval before salaries are increased. It is salaries paid over the period of three years.
“On this ground, it was not misappropriated considering the volume of work done by thousands of staff over this period,” he said.
In their responses, virtually all members of the committee were displeased with the illegal payment, pointing out that the public funds were spent without due process.
Specifically, the Deputy Whip of the Senate, Nwebonyi Onyeka declared that government money was spent without due process and must be refunded.
It has come to our notice that we must obtain approval before salaries are increased. It is salaries paid over the period of three years. On this ground, it was not misappropriated considering the volume of work done by thousands of staff over this period.