07 April 2014, Abuja – The chairman, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Power, Mr. Franklin Osaisai Erepoma, has said the Federal Government can no longer pay the accumulated allowances of N637,087,679.94, from December 2012 to January 2013, because the budgets had become restrictive and therefore government can no longer accommodate it.
On why government cannot continue to shoulder such financial obligations, Erepoma, in an exclusive chat with THISDAY, said: “Now we have a public service in the country, where every remuneration is through a given circular, given approval, it has to be known to the budget and once you have certain allowances that are not known to the budget, it becomes difficult to implement.”
According to him, prior to the establishment of the commission, the two centres had existed as Physics Departments under the aegis of the Centre for Energy Research and Development (CERD), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, and the Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, adding that as the time, they were created to be research units of NAEC. Erepoma noted: “The Commission: NAEC wasn’t activated and so they existed on their own as parts of these Universities. From 2007 to 2011, we were able to do deal with this trying to find some level of how to deal with it and once the budget process becomes very restrictive and we don’t have the money, you simply would have to explain the best way to deal with it and I think that is the crux of the matter.”
The Chairman, who spoke with THISDAY in Abuja at the weekend, said: “You would have issues when people have been operating in a particular setting, one of the human nature is to resist change, whether it is for positive or whatever reason. So I think that may be the fundamental issue and I think those are issues that we can address in a broader sense.”
However, Erepoma revealed government was trying its best to improve the working condition of staff members so as to achieve NAEC’s set objectives, adding: “In December, last year, President Goodluck Jonathan, set up a Presidential Technical Committee (PTC), headed by the Head of Service, Alhaji, Bukar Goni-Aji, with the two centres having their own directors in thee committee.”
– This Day