The Federal Government says it has began the process of merging the National Economic Recovery Fund (NERFUND) and Bank of Industry (BOI) to enable it contribute effectively to economic development in the country.
The Director of Information, Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Dambatta was reacting to a call by the workers of NERFUND to clarify the government’s circular which asked them to proceed on compulsory leave.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government on Thursday issued a circular directing the immediate shutting down of the operations of the Fund.
The circular, signed by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Dutse, said that the organisation had been faced with some crises that had crippled its operations in the last three weeks.
It further directed all staff to proceed on indefinite leave with immediate effect.
“NERFUND offices have been sealed up in order to protect government properties and workers were asked to stay at home for the time being because if they come they may quarrel among themselves.
The Ministry of Finance has contacted BoI to send a competent person to take over the operations of the place for the time being before the office can be reopened.
Also, the Federal Government has decided to implement the recommendations of Ahmed Joda committee which recommended that NERFUND should be dissolved and merged with Bank of Industry.
But this is being delayed because there is an Act establishing NERFUND.
However, the Ministry has written to the Ministry of Justice to initiate a bill that can be forwarded to the National Assembly to repeal the Act establishing NERFUND.
Once this is done, the mandate of BOI will be reviewed to accommodate that of NERFUND,” he said.
Dambatta assured the public that the government had no intention of sacking any of the workers.
He said that some of the workers would be absorbed by BoI and others will be moved to sister agencies based on individual areas of training.
Meanwhile, NERFUND staff union had rejected the move by the ministry of Finance to shut down its operations.
The spokesman of the organisation Dahiru Ali said that the union had discussed with ministry to have a rethink on the decision.
He said that the organisation had gone a step further in recovering over N7 billion loan owed NERFUND by some indivuduals.
Ali government action was capable of truncating the effort of debt recovery and sending a wrong signal to its debtors.