Gives reasons for non-implementation of Oronsaye Report
By Dirisu Yakubu
Poor documentation and lack of understanding of procedures are some of the reasons for the delayed payment of death gratuities to next of kin of civil servants who died in active service, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan said in Abuja on Thursday.
Dr Yemi-Esan who stated this at an event to mark the 2021 Nigeria Civil Service Week further noted that poor documentations make it almost impossible for insurance companies to pay death benefits, even when valid claims are made.
The Federal Government according to the Head of Service released over N2 billion last year for the payment of backlog of death benefits, noting that as a result, 594 beneficiaries have been paid.
She said: “If the documentation is not complete, insurance companies do not pay premiums. The insurance companies will not touch it. The letter of attestation is very important and in most cases, the next of kin don’t know where to start from.
“Following the release of N2.5billion to pay back log of death benefits to the next of kin of deceased officers, as at today, the sum of N2, 468, 094,063.08 has been expended to settle 594 beneficiaries. The balance will be paid to other beneficiaries once the Office receives the requisite banks’ attestation.”
The Head of Service also chided desk heads in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, most of whom she said, lack sufficient knowledge of what is expected of them in the processing of death benefit claims.
“This office does not receive letters from the families of the dead. It is the institution that writes to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service. Even the pension desk office in the MDAs do not understand the process but we are determine on bringing the desk heads together so that we can educate them. We want to get things done properly,” she assured.
Against the backdrop of the far-reaching recommendations by the Steve Oronsaye Report of 2011, Dr. Yemi-Esan was asked what had become of the report, to which she responded thus:
“The Steve Oronsaye committee was a Presidential Committee domiciled at the Head of Service. It was not a committee set up by Office of the Head of Service as some people are tempted to believe.
“I met with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation recently and truth is the Oronsaye Report is now outdated. It was put in place ten years ago and between then and now, a lot has happened.
“Yes, MDAs need to be rationalised and the SGF will inaugurate two committees. One of the committee will look at the Oronsaye Report and the other one will look at what happened after the report. We will then harmonised and move on,” she added.
In 2011, the then President Goodluck Jonathan set up the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of federal government parastatals, commissions and agencies, with Steve Oronsaye as the chairman.
The committee went to recommend among others, the scrapping of some MDAs and the merger of some to free funds for the execution of capital projects by the federal government.
In terms of capacity training of federal civil servants, Dr Yemi-Esan said “a total of 1,751 Officers on Salary Grade Levels 7-10 have been inducted from 2019 till date at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, PSIN. We are currently strategizing to develop a virtual platform to fast track the training of backlog of officers,” adding that under the Structured Mandatory Assessment-Based Training Programme, SMAT-P, “1,546 officers have been trained between 2019 to date, including 159 officers trained by virtual means in March 2021. We are currently assessing the level of infrastructure at the MDAs level in order to facilitate the roll-out of the second phase of the virtual training.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Building the Africa we want through embracing an African culture that underpins purpose-driven leadership in the face of crisis.”