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Civil Servants Face Suspension Over Salary Padding 

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Some civil servants across several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been suspended for alleged salary “padding”.
Some of those suspended are from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and an undisclosed institute.
The Tide source learnt that some civil servants connived with some officials in the OAGF to pad their salaries by manipulating the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
In one instance, an Assistant Director involved with the IPPIS unit of the RMAFC is under probe over salary padding.
The Assistant Director (AD), an IPPIS desk officer in charge of staff’ salary, was alleged to have connived with some staff of the OAGF to pad the salaries of unspecified number of lower level staff.
A source familiar with the incident said, “The AD in connivance with some staff are neck deep in the salary padding racket. The alarm blew up recently when a level 7 officer whose salary should be in the  range of N60,000 was paid over N400,000,  salary package of Director.
“What happened was, another colleague on same salary scale saw the pay slip of a female colleague with a  net pay of over N400,000. Surprised, he tried to get details of the excess payment but was rebuffed.
“Following the cold attitude from his colleague, the aggrieved staff raised the alarm and a committee was set up to investigate the matter”.
The salary padding racket, the source learnt, has been on for a while among a small clique of civil servants in different MDAs with the IPPIS office in the OAGF as the epicentre.
Reacting to the development, the OAGF in a statement, said it is “in receipt of enquiries over alleged “salary padding” on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) involving some unspecified Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA).”
The OAGF noted “there is no evidence of “salary padding” before the OAGF at this time; however, the office is aware of reported breach of the IPPIS third party payment protocol at an Institute outside Abuja”.
It added: “The incident has since been reported to, and is being investigated by relevant anti-corruption, security and regulatory agencies.
“In the meantime, a staff suspected to be connected with the breach has been suspended to allow for thorough investigation.
“All necessary steps are being taken to strengthen the controls around the IPPIS payment platform and an independent forensic audit of the entire payroll system is underway to ascertain if the reported breach is isolated or widespread”.
Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Mohammed Bello Shehu, confirmed to The Nation the commission has identified some culprits and placed them on suspension pending the investigation of the incidence.
He said some staff of the Commission were found to have manipulated the IPPIS system to pad their salaries above what they were supposed to earn.
Shehu said: “If the indicted officials are found culpable of the salary padding allegations, they will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution”.

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Enugu To Resume Coal Mining Operations December

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In a bid to restore its prominence as the leading coal mining state in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, the Enugu State Government has issued December as deadline for the commencement of mining operations.
The decision came after the meeting of the government representatives and other mining stakeholders in the state, over the weekend.
In a communique issued at the end of a meeting between the state’s Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) and mineral title holders in the state, the parties resolved to initiate further stakeholders engagement to identify additional challenges in the sector and recommend solutions which would help foster more inclusive and effective mining in the state.
The Chairman of MIREMCO and Special Adviser to the Enugu State Governor on Solid Minerals, Engr. Samuel Okoro, said the communique  emphasised the need to sensitise host communities on the objectives of MIREMCO and how they could assist in ensuring smooth business operations through cooperation between them and the miners, thereby reducing disruptions.
“To uphold transparency and  accountability and also ensure that all mineral title holders in the state comply with the regulatory requirements, it was agreed that the committee would make a demand through the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) for the directories of all mineral titles in Enugu State.
“In its efforts to eradicate mineral titles in activeness and stimulate economic growth in the sector, the committee reiterated its commitment to ensuring that all the titles became operational before the end of 2024.
“The tilte holders are urged to commence operations promptly, with MIREMCO pledging to providing support and addressing any challenges that may arise to facilitate this process.
“The tilte holders are urged to commence operations promptly, with MIREMCO pledging to providing support and addressing any challenges that may arise to facilitate this process”, Okoro said.
He  thanked the Governor of the state, Dr.  Peter Mbah, and the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, for giving them the opportunity to make their impact in the sector, promising to ensure full compliance with all relevant regulations and standards.
“We are grateful to the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, and the leadership of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, headed by the Honourable Minister, Dr. Dele Alake.
“We commend his visionary leadership and dedication to the ministry, and we pledge our commitment to ensuring that his leadership leaves an excellent legacy for the sector”, Okoro said.
He also urged the mineral title holders to do their best and make a difference, stressing that the committee stands ready to collaborate closely with them to achieve maximum results.
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Africa To Empower Marginalised Communities Through Natural Resources

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, says the African is determined to empower its marginalised communities through its natural resources.
Alake described Africa as endowed with natural resources, capable of driving its sustainable economic growth, particularly with the critical minerals needed for the global energy transition.
He stated this yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing against the backdrop of the forthcoming 2024 African Natural Resources & Energy Investment Summit (AFNIS).
He said equitable distribution of resources and targeted investments in local communities were key to empowering those historically underserved.
Alake said the move would reduce inequality, promote social stability, and ensure inclusive growth across the continent.
“By channeling investments into rural areas and marginalised communities, we can create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, improve access to essential services, and foster an environment, where every individual has the chance to thrive”, he stated.
According to him, the three-day summit,  being hosted by Nigeria from July 16th would be ending on Thursday, July 18th and is aimed at exploring strategies for utilising fossil fuel revenues to fund Africa’s transition to a greener future.
“AFNIS 2024 is not merely a gathering of minds, but a convergence of visionaries committed to transforming Africa’s natural resource landscape.
“Our discussions and decisions will resonate across the continent, influencing policies, shaping industries, and setting the course for a sustainable future”,  he said.
The Minister said the summit was also aimed at bolstering the continent’s efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while fostering the development of cleaner, more accessible, and reliable energy sources.
He stated that the summit will provide a platform for government officials, the private sector and industry experts from across the continent to chart ways for the sustainable development of its natural resources.
He further said the 2024 theme, “Natural Resources for Economic Development”, underscored the significant role that Africa’s natural resources play in driving economic prosperity.
Alake continued that the economic growth of the region would have multiplier effects, including alleviating poverty and creating job opportunities for its people.
“By fostering economic growth, we can alleviate poverty, create job opportunities and ensure prosperity for small businesses and all .
“The responsible exploitation of our resources will generate revenues that can be reinvested into our economies, enhancing infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
“This cycle of growth will elevate the living standards of our people and position Africa as a formidable player in the global economy”, he said.
The Minister also said the summit would deliberate on leveraging Africa’s natural resources to address crucial issues such as quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation.
He added that other issues to tackle also include provision of affordable and clean energy, and proactive climate action.
Alake explained that the summit would be the third edition and would be hosted in partnership with Core International Mining Company.
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SMEs, Major Player In Most Economies – Traditional Ruler 

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The Eze Oha Evo III of Evo Kingdom, HM King Leslie N. Eke, has said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are major players in most economies, particularly in developing countries.
King Eke, who is the Eze Gbakagbaka of Evo Kingdom, said this while chatting  with newsmen at his palace in Woji in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Eke recalled that SMEs account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development.
According to him, SMEs represent about 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment worldwide, which, he said, should form part of the reasons government at all levels are meant to give it the required attention.
“SMEs contribute up to 40 percent of national income in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included”, he said.
He noted that access to finance has been a key constraint to SMEs growth,  hence the need by concerned authorities to up their games.
In his words, “access to finance should rank  the second most cited obstacle facing SMEs growth .
“SMEs are less likely to be able to obtain bank loans than large firms. They rely on internal funds, or cash from friends and family, to launch and initially run their enterprises”, he said.
He also revealed that SMEs growth will go a long way in reviving the ailing economic sector, if all players play in accordance with the rule, doing the needful to support the enterprises.
King Onunwor
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