The Senate on Wednesday considered and passed for second reading a Bill for an Act requiring regular publication of existing vacant positions in Federal Government offices to ensure transparency and equal opportunities to all Nigerians in the recruitment of new personnel.
The Bill entitled: “Existing Vacancies in the Federal Civil Service (Publication) Bill” is in line with the determination of the 8th Senate to create an enabling environment through legislation that would not only generate but ensure that all qualified job seekers are given access to take advantage of employment opportunities in the country.
It would be recalled that the Senate on Monday, held a roundtable on youth unemployment in the country during which representatives of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government as well as civil society organizations (CSO) identified root causes of unemployment in the country and proffered a way forward.
The sponsor of the Bill, Senator Biodun Olujimi, in her lead debate said the Bill seeks to mandate the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to compile and publish a complete list of all vacant positions in the Federal Civil Service and its parastatals once every quarter.
The lawmaker representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, said the Bill when passed into law would make it an offense to fill any vacant position in any Ministry, Parastatals, Corporation and Government department unless it is in accordance with the provisions of the Act under consideration.
“It is common knowledge today that employment in Government parastatals in most cases is not based on merit as god-fatherism, favouritism, nepotism and ethnicity have taken the front burner,” Olujimi lamented. “Millions of Nigerian men and women are denied equal opportunities in recruitment today, as most vacancies are not advertised publicly.”
Olujimi insisted that the failure to publish existing vacancies by government agencies has given rise to corruption and fallen standards of education due largely to the fact that educational qualifications are no longer criteria for employment.
“Similarly, the unemployed seek short cuts to gain employment because of the lack of trust in the system,” she stated. “Nigerians engage in all sorts of vices to get their relatives, friends and loved ones into vacant positions and this has been accepted as the general norm. This is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue.”
Other senators in their contribution bemoaned the rampant incidence of secret recruitment into the Federal Civil Service in the guise of ‘replacement’ and said that the Bill would help restore transparency and equity in federal employments.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki in his contribution stated that the Bill when passed into law would give millions of Nigerians a sense of belonging in matters of state.
“For the unity of this country, everybody must know that they have a sense of belonging,” Saraki stated
The Bill was subsequently referred by Saraki to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service to report back in four weeks.