The protest by the workers of the Ministry of Finance has prevented the monthly meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), which had been earlier scheduled to hold on Tuesday June 21, 2016.
The workers, who shut all entrances to the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja over unpaid N1.2bn special overtime allowances, stayed out of their offices from 8am when they resumed work and vowed not to attend to any official assignment until the arrival of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
As a result of the workers’ action, the FAAC meeting could not be convened as top officials of the ministry were denied access to their offices.
The FAAC meeting, which usually holds at the main auditorium of the ministry for the sharing of revenues accruing to the federation among the three tiers of government, was last held on May 25.
The workers vowed that their agitation would continue until the finance minister was either removed or their allowances paid.
They ignored pleas made by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mahmoud Dutse to open the offices as they asked him to produce the minister. After waiting for few minutes without being able to gain access to his office, Dutse had to leave to an unknown destination.
The ministry had in a statement issued on Monday by the Director of Information, Mr. Salisu Dambatta, said the protest by the workers was not justifiable.
He said that the special overtime allowances being requested by the workers had been stopped since 2014 as it was not listed in any government circular or financial regulation.
The statement read in part, “The payment of what the protesting staff called a special overtime was stopped by the last administration in 2014 on the ground that it was not listed in any extant government circular, financial regulations or the public service rules.
“The sum of N1.2bn computed by the staff union for payment could not have been budgeted for in 2016 in the first place, not only because of the paucity of funds, but also the fact that the allowance was not part of the remuneration in the federal public service.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Budget Office of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning do not individually or collectively owe any of their personnel their salaries.
“The management of the Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to categorically state that the protests have no justifiable grounds.”