The Senate on Monday uncovered how the Board of Directors of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc allegedly paid a N14bn salary increase to all its staff members without the approval of the National Salaries Wages, Incomes and Wages Commission.
The Chairman of the Senate Public Accounts Committee, Senator Ahmed Wadada, discovered during a session in the Red Chamber in Abuja when the management of NSPMC appeared before the committee concerning the 2019 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation.
The report of the Auditor-General revealed that between 2016 and 2019, the NSPMC’s Board of Directors approved N14bn for salaries and allowances without the 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 income policy; recommend the proportions of income growth which should be utilised for general wage increases 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.
However, the managing director later admitted before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts that it was wrong not to seek approval from the NSIWC before implementing the new salaries and allowances increase for the company.
Halilu further said, “It has come to our notice that we must obtain approval before salaries increase. It is salaries paid over three years. On this ground, it was not misappropriated considering the volume of works done by thousands of staff over this period.”
In their responses, nearly all members of the committee were displeased with the illegal payment, pointing out that the public funds were spent without due process.
The Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Nwebonyi Onyeka, explained that government money was spent without due process, adding that the misappropriated fund should be refunded.