Fall out of promotion examination: Aggrieved senior staff accused NHIA management of nepotism

Nineteen senior members of staff of the National Health Insurance Authority, (NHIA) that took part in the 2023 promotion examination have cried out, alleging nepotism on the side of the management of the authority.

They further alleged that they were unjustly denied elevation to the next step.

The aggrieved staffs therefore appealed to the Director-general of the authority to wade into the situation, according to a letter of complaint signed by 19 of them and released to newsmen on Monday.

The senior staff, who are assistant directors and waiting to be promoted to the rank of deputy directors after passing the examination, claimed that their colleagues who took part in the exercise “were selected and promoted while others were unsatisfactorily informed that there is no vacancy”.

This, according to them, was not established before the examination was conducted, arguing that the issue of vacancy is not only an “afterthought,” but also “preemptive.”

“After the 2023 Senior Staff examination and before approval was obtained for promotion, the Human Resources Department posted some staff which seems to us as to jeopardise the chances of some other staff to be promoted,”the letter reads.

“It should be noted that staff were posted from Head office to create vacancy for some and to stagnate others in the State and Zonal Offices,” the statement reads.

It cited further more irregularities in the promotion process noting that, “there is a staff whose appointment had not been confirmed, but was an Acting State Coordinator yet Assistant Directors who have met the requirement for promotion do not have vacancies for Deputy Director cadre as State Coordinator.

“We got to know that the appointment of this same staff was just confirmed after the examination to keep the position, this is preemptive.”

A report initiated by the office of the Head of Civil Service of the federation titled: “Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (2017-2020)” shows that nepotism in the recruitment and promotion of the Federal Civil Service affects employees’ morale and productivity.

These are the fears of the affected senior staff. According to the statement, they were told that despite passing their promotion exercise, they would only be shortlisted for the 2024 promotion exercise subject to the availability of vacancies.

“It is almost certain that the affected staff will still not be promoted because this current arrangement of consequential vacancy will not change substantially for affected staff to benefit from against the 2024 examination,” the statement adds that the situation could haul the Management of the agency into “administrative disrepute as manifested in some uninformed recommendations that could further deepen needless industrial disharmony in the system.”

The senior staff implored the Director General to note that: There are vacancies for Deputy Directors in the Authority, both at the State offices and Headquarters, but some Assistant Directors who met the requirement to be promoted were not considered in the recommendation for the 2023 Senior Staff promotion to fill those vacancies.

That some Assistant Directors prefer to be promoted with the option of exiting service thereafter than to stagnate at the present level.

That some Assistant Directors prefer to be promoted and be posted to a state office since the Authority is one and staff can serve in any location.

That the issue of vacancy should be considered in its global sense in the Authority. We should not be posting staff from headquarters to state offices and staff cannot be posted vice versa.

They also called on the agency’s Director General to review the decision of the promotion exercise and release letters of promotion to Deputy Directors that substantially complied with the public service rules and requirements for promotion.

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