By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a range of new incentives for Nigerian teachers, including an upwards retirement age review and special allowances for inconvenient posting.
This was disclosed to State House Correspondents on Wednesday after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Executive Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who joined three other colleagues of his, including the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to the media briefing, said the ultimate goal of the new incentives is attracting the best brains the teaching profession.
According to him, the bill tagged ‘Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill (2021)’, would be transmitted to the National Assembly for required legislation and enactment into law.
Describing the approval as a giant step in the ministry’s reform race, Adamu said the ongoing process, which is aimed at giving works done so far a legal backing, is the biggest stage so far.
Speaking about the key item of the bill, the Minister said the proposed law would review teachers’ retirement age from the current 60 years mark to 65 years of age, while years of service will now be reviewed from 35 years to 40 years.
“This memo that was approved for education is a giant step towards what we set out to do towards the end of last year with the approval by Mr President of some special packages for teachers.
“So, at the meeting today, the council approved that bill, which will be called Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill, 2021 to be sent to the National Assembly for enactment into law. So, all the promises the President made and all the approvals that he has given me will now begin to be put into effect because this is a legal backing that is required for it.
“I want to assure teachers that this government will do to them what has never been done. This is the first biggest step.
“The intention is to attract the best brains to the teaching profession. For that, the President approved the reintroduction of bursary awards, which I told you here last year, improving teacher quality, and funding teaching practice, now from TETFUND, he approved an enhanced entry point for teachers.
“Then, he approved that there should be some special allowances that will allow teachers to be posted to places you can consider ‘hardship postings’, rural posting allowance, science teacher allowance, and of course we have Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) under us that has professionalized the profession.
“Those are the highlights which you already know. But this is the biggest stage now. We are getting legal backing for all these things.
“The essence of the bill is to seek approval so that there is legal backing for the new retirement age of 65 years for teachers and the service period being extended to 40 years for teachers. This is the main issue while all other issues are ancillary to it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the FEC has approved a N1.484 billion contract for the upgrade of the electricity component of the Calabar Free Trade Zone Area in Cross River State.
Also speaking during the press briefing, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, explained that the contract was initially awarded in 2018, adding that the contract would see to the completion of the free trade zone project.
“Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo. We brought a memo for the award of contract for the upgrade of the electricity component of the Calabar Free Trade Zone Area.
“The contract was initially awarded in 2018 to upgrade the electrical facility in the free trade zone area and it was not completed. So, we brought a memo and Council approved the sum of N1.484 billion for the Completion of the Calabar Free Trade Zone Area,” he said.
Also briefing, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said the FEC approved a treaty on “Plant Genetic Resource for Food and Agriculture.”
Nanono said the import of the treaty is for the advancement and enhancement of agricultural resource base of member countries.
“Nigeria has signed the treaty for a long time, but it is only today that the FEC approved the ratification. We will now become full member of this treaty and it will enhance training and research of our agricultural scientists, among others.
“In short, the entire treaty is meant to boost agricultural production in the country as it affects other countries, 167 of them,” he said.
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