NITDA introduces paternity leave in its conditions, scheme of service

TECH DIGEST – The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has introduced paternity leave under its Employee Centric, Condition and Scheme of Service.

The agency said the incentive is among other conditions to enhance productivity and ensure a digital economy.

The documents which were presented by Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy on Tuesday in Abuja, was the first-ever to be developed by the agency.

Pantami commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support towards driving the digital economy sector, hence the approval of the conditions and scheme of service on Feb. 12.

He recalled that the journey for the conditions of service began in 2016, when he presided over the affairs of the agency and was designed to enhance staff welfare and restructure operations.

The minister said the Scheme of Service would serve as a tool for making the agency more functional as it was developing into one of the most strategic government institutions in Nigeria.

“It provides the approved cadre for the agency and specifies the skills and certifications required for appointment and promotion in the agency.

“The Scheme identifies 15 different cadres for the agency, while the Conditions of Service is to re-engineer operations and structure of the agency.

“With the aim of providing an enabling environment for effective strategy development and execution,” he said.

According to him, this will match the global industry which requirements they needed to develop and regulate the innovative and agile digital economy industry.

“The Conditions of Service will enable the agency effectively key into the digital economy mandate of the Federal Government, enhance the corporate culture of the Agency, attract and retain highly skilled staff, among others.

“Key areas include the introduction of paternity and compassionate leave, responsibility award, transfer benefits and staff homeownership loan, among others,’’ he said.

The minister said that both documents took close to five years to complete, adding that it is worth it as it will develop the agency and its employees.

He, however, instructed the board and the management of the agency to ensure efficiency in its performance.

“We are committed to attracting and retaining highly skilled and motivated personnel in the digital economy sector, including all the parastatals under our supervision.

“The agency has a critical role to play in the development of Nigeria’s digital economy.

“I urge you to use the approval of this Scheme and Conditions of Service as a springboard for greater impact,” he said.

He said that the recently released report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that ICT sector had the highest contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2020.

Pantami said that the sector had 14.7 per cent growth rate in the fourth quarter, making the sector with the highest growth rate against all other sectors combined.

“We are doing our best to justify the confidence of the President on this sector by ensuring that our initiatives support the programmes of the government,’’ he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Festus Dauda, said the condition and scheme of service was coming when the entire public service was undergoing positive transformation and reforms.

Dauda said the documents proved that the federal government was committed to repositioning the public service to deliver on their mandates and for better service delivery to citizens.

“The issue of staff welfare in every organisation is a very vital and critical issue that should not be toiled with.

“Staff members play a very important role in the production process of any organisation.

“Depending on how their welfare is worked on, it can affect their performance at workplace either positively or negatively,’’ he said.

The permanent secretary added that the document had been developed with the interest of staff wellbeing at heart to ensure that they were comfortable and taken care of at work.

He, however, hoped that the new condition of service would improve the work productivity in NITDA, hence aligning with the agenda of Buhari to develop the country.

Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of NITDA, said before the coming of Pantami as former D-G of the agency in 2016, the staff behaved like mainstream public servants while productivity was low.

Inuwa commended the minister while noting that the minister’s efforts had made the agency one of the top public institutions in the country.

According to him, “whatever we do is to help the President fulfil his campaign promises and should, in turn, affect the lives of citizens”.

He then urged the staff of the agency to live and work up to the standard of the conditions and scheme of service by abiding to work etiquettes. (NAN)