Last week, civil servants in the Ministry of Finance staged a protest at the Ministryâ€™s secretariat where they called for the sack of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun over the non-payment of their special overtime allowance. The workers barricaded the entrance to the ministry and accused the Minister of stopping their allowance.
Speaking on Channels TV this morning, Adeosun said the suspension of the Special Overtime Allowance for the workers had been stopped by her predecessor, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
â€œFor about 11 years or so, the Federal Inland Revenue Service who are self funded, get 4% of what they collect as cost of collection. They donâ€™t get their salaries from the Federation account and every year they allocate a bonus and part of that bonus was given to staff of the office of the Accountant General, Ministry of Finance and Budget of the Federation. It has always been contentious but its always been paid. In 2014, my predecessor then told them this is the last time it would be paid. It was N800 million at the time. It was communicated to the Union that the allowance wasnâ€™t in their scheme of service. Its not an official payment that can be justified and so it is not going to continue. So when I was sworn in in 2015, the first issue that was brought to me was this and this year, the claim was N1.2 billion. I consulted with the Head of Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Consulted with the Presidency, checked the legalities. There is no provision for it in the budget for FIRS. There is no provision for it in our budget. It is a customary payment rather than an entitlement. I began to engage with the leaderships of the unions around this and explained to them that it wouldnâ€™t be possible to continue. I think people are just disappointed because they have always had it. I took time to explain to the staff that what you are legally entitled to you would always get but what is not a legal entitlement, a customary entitlement, canâ€™t be paidâ€she said