The federal government has commenced the process for the preparation of the 2020 budget with a directive to Ministries, Departments and Agencies to avoid inflating their personnel budget.
The government also issued a warning to chief executives of all agencies of the government against the introduction of ghost workers in the personnel payroll, adding that such action would not be condoned.
The warning is contained in the 2020 personnel budget call Circular issued and personally signed by the immediate past Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.
The circular with reference BD/2000/EXP/S.651 was dated May 24, 2019.
It was sent to the chief of staff to the president, the deputy chief of staff to the vice president, all ministers, the secretary to the government of the federation, all Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police.
Others are the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, all Chairmen of Commissions, all Permanent Secretaries/Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments and the auditor-general of the federation.
The document, which was obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday in Abuja, noted that it was necessary to commence the process of preparing the 2020 personnel cost budget early to enable diligent exercise.
This, it noted, would ensure adequate budgetary provisions for MDAs’ personnel cost as well as submission of the 2020 budget proposal to the National Assembly by September of this year.
In recent times, there had been a delay in the passage and signing of the Federal Government budget due to disagreements between the executive and the National Assembly.
As a result of the power tussle between the executive and the legislature, the budget implementation had always commenced very late into the year.
For instance, the 2011 budget was passed on March 25, 2011, while that of 2012 was passed on March 14 of that same year.
For the 2013 budget, it was passed by the lawmakers on December 20, 2012, and signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2013 while 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets were also signed in the month of May of each year.
The 2017 budget, which was submitted to the lawmakers in December 2016, was not passed and assented to until the month of June 2017.
The 2018 budget, which was designed to consolidate on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, was presented to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.
It was passed by the lawmakers on May 16, transmitted to Buhari on May 25 and assented by him on June 20.
The document said, “It is necessary to commence the process of preparing the 2020 personnel cost budget early to enable a diligent exercise which will ensure adequate budgetary provisions for MDAs personnel cost, as well as submission of the 2020 budget proposal to the National Assembly by September 2019.”
To guide against the insertion of extraneous items, the circular said the payroll templates for all MDAs had been prepared using applicable salary structures as approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
The circular read in part, “The payroll templates for all MDAs have been prepared using applicable salary structures as approved by NSIWC.
“MDAs should note that payment of salaries and allowances are for legitimate staff members only. Any unauthorised payments from personnel costs will attract appropriate sanctions.
“Therefore, you are required to complete the personnel template in line with extant rules and regulations. Only persons employed in the public service of the federation should be on the nominal roll.
“Employees due for retirement as of December 31, 2019, should not be included in the 2020 nominal roll. Please check this carefully as violations will be treated as a wilful introduction of ghost workers which may attract sanctions
“A list of all employees due for retirement as of December 31, 2019, must be attached separately with your submission to the Budget Office of the Federation. The list will be cross-checked against the existing nominal roll with BOF.”
The circular informed the head of agencies of the government that they were to assign non-regular allowances only to those employees who were clearly entitled under the terms of service, and circulars issued by the NSIWC.
It stated, “MDAs are required to reflect appropriate grade level/step for all the staff members, including provisions for annual increments.