By G9ija

The Federal Civil Service is in panic mode after the Federal Government outlined its plans to sack workers to reduce the size of its workforce.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while taking questions at the Public Presentation and Breakdown of Highlights of the 2022 Appropriation Act on Wednesday in Abuja.

Ahmed stated that the retrenchment of workers was a necessary step in stemming the huge amount spent on recurrent expenditure annually by the Federal Government.

The sacking of federal workers would emanate from the merger and dissolution of agencies and parastatals under different ministries, based on the Oronsanye Report.

The minister, however, added that there would be exit packages for the workers which would be disbursed immediately they are sacked.

She said, “There is a special committee, led by the SGF, that is working on the review of agencies, with a view to collapsing them partly using the Oransanye Report.

“At the end of it, what we want to do is to reduce the size of government and also to reduce the size of personnel cost and part of it will be designing the exit packages that are realistic.

“We are revenue challenged. So, for everything we do, we can’t put an exit package if you are not willing to cash it immediately. So, when you are asking people to exit by choice, you must be able to give them that package as they are exiting.”

“There are so many things that are happening. These are not easy decisions to make because they affect people and families. So, you have to make sure that whatever we commit to we are actually going to deliver on it,” Ahmed said.

This development comes after the Federal Government announced the removal of fuel subsidies in 2022 as a way for it to put more funds into developing the economy.

Meanwhile, the retrenchment of federal workers would mean the President, Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is making a U-turn from his promise of safeguarding jobs due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

The reporter said that the President had promised that the Federal Government would not lay off workers without due process amid the pandemic.

Buhari said, “I understand the anxiety which has plagued the minds of workers over the possibility of job losses due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and lockdown especially in the private sector.

“In this regard, the government will ensure that no employer would retrench or lay off workers without going through due process of social dialogue, which includes consultations with workers and with the Competent Authority — Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.”