The Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Ajibola Ponnle, on Wednesday, disclosed that an interactive knowledge-sharing platform tagged S.H.I.F.T. Talks has been initiated in Lagos State to harvest the inherent wisdom and celebrate staff who distinguish themselves through the introduction of novel ideas.
Mrs. Ponnle made the revelation during her speech at the J.J.T. Park in Alausa, while addressing journalists at the Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the first anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s assumption of office.
“The Maiden Edition of SHIFT Talks, an interactive knowledge-sharing platform for public servants, was aimed at harvesting the collective wisdom inherent within the Service, showcasing innovation by staff and networking to bridge the inter-ministerial gap”, she explained.
Speaking further, the Commissioner stated that during the first edition “Knowledge SHIFTer, like Mrs. Tope George, a lawyer from the Ministry of Justice shared nuggets from a book she authored while Innovation SHIFTer, Seun Ogunmolu, who launched an App he developed, was recognised by Mr. Governor for an excellent performance. It should be worthy of note that Mr. Ogunmolu was advanced to GL 10 as a result of his innovative drive”.
While rendering the account of service rendered by the Ministry and its agencies in the past year, Ponnle said that the Public Service Staff Development Centre, PSSDC, had by the end of March 2020, designed and implemented a total of 44 Learning and Development programmes for a total of 2,164 Public Service staff to enhance job performance.
She listed other initiatives employed to boost the morale of employees, including the organisation of In-Plant, Tailor-Made Workshops and Seminars, sponsorship of officers for Local and foreign training and approval for Study Leave, among others.
Speaking further on the resolve of the State to boost service excellence, the Commissioner said “We have trained a total of 4,210 staff during the year in-class sessions, representing 30% of the cumulative number trained in the previous four years, apart from the over 11,000 participants online.”
She averred that in order to ensure a safe, conflict-free and productive workplace, the Ministry provided strategic and expert advice on industrial relations and also played an important role in the successful negotiation of the new minimum wage plus consequential adjustments, noting that three months arrears, as agreed, had already been paid to employees between February and April 2020 during the lockdown.
Ponnle emphasized that “the Lagos State Government pays more than the Federal recommended minimum wage, which shows the magnanimity of Governor Sanwo-Olu in ensuring that the ‘take-home’ of staff truly takes them home”.
In the area of Pension payments, she affirmed that the State Government has consistently distinguished itself as the leading State in the payment of contributory payment scheme, its management, implementation and administration in Nigeria, while also leading the pack in the full implementation of an increase in employers’ contribution from 7.5% to 10% and employees contribution from 7.5% to 8%.
She submitted that a total of 4,104 retirees had their accrued pension rights of N16,759,441,707.75 credited into their RSAs between May 2019 to April 2020, saying that the government also approved the release of N13.75billion to fund the Redemption Bond Account, thereby increasing the additional funding rate from 5% to 10% of total annual staff emoluments in order to fully clear the backlog of arrears from the old defined benefit scheme era of pension management by the State.
Averring that the Lagos State Pension Commission, LASPEC, has commenced the issuance of pensioners ID cards to retirees, the Commissioner said additional benefits that will accrue to civil service retirees, who hold ID cards, will be unveiled in due course.
She reaffirmed that the Ministry remains committed to developing initiatives that will ensure the mandate of a 21st Century-compliant workforce is achieved.