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Talking Drums Issue 1

Staff Talk Welcome to the maiden issue of the monthly staff bulletin! After the naming contest announced in the IITA Bulletin in June, the final name of the newsletter was selected. A committee composed of staff from various units was consulted to select the final name. Talking Drums, suggested by Board Member Emmy Simmons, is indeed a fitting name for an internal newsletter for staff. In Africa, drums are a very common form of communication in local communities. We want to thank all staff members that submitted names for the newsletter. This publication aims to ensure successful communication and exchange of information, and also to facilitate internal communication among staff, units, and stations/hubs in IITA. This monthly newsletter will focus on human interest stories, news and announcements about staff activities and events, staff contributions, and staff-related stories. As earlier announced, we welcome contributions in the form of news, stories, jokes, cartoons, and creative works. This bulletin is intended for all of us and we believe your contribution in the form of suggestions and constructive comments will go a long way to producing a good quality newsletter. We look forward to getting your feedback on this first issue. Let’s use this medium as a forum for open discussions and conversations. Let’s use it as a mouthpiece to continue our efforts towards achieving the mission of IITA. Please enjoy reading it.

August 2012

Sportsfest 2012 ends with a bang! The Sportsfest 2012 has come to a close. The closing ceremony, held 26 July, featured an exhibition football game among “biggies”, the championship of the football match between White and Pink teams, awarding or trophies and prizes, and fireworks. The Red Team won the overall championship with 4 golds, 4 silvers, and 1 bronze. The Yellow Team is the runner-up with 3 gold, Introduction of players to the guest of honor silver, and bronze medals each. shortly before the final match kick off. The Blue Team came in at third place, with 3 golds, 1 silver, and 3 bronze medals. The results of the completed games are shown below: Game Gold Presentation walk Red Marathon walk (Female) Red Marathon walk (Male) Red Football White Volleyball White Draughts Yellow Scrabble Pink Ayo Olopon Yellow Monopoly Blue Chess Green Table tennis Red Tennis Red Source: Secretary, Sportsfest Committee.

Silver Pink Red Red Pink Yellow Yellow White White Red Blue Yellow Green

Bronze Yellow Yellow Pink Green Blue White Blue Yellow White Blue Red Blue

Graduate Training Program rounds off The Graduate Trainee Program (GTP), a one-year pilot scheme, which aims to provide an opportunity for young aspiring workers to undergo an on-the-job internship, rounded off in June. There are currently four participants under the scheme who are located in the Communication Office, Computer Unit, Facilities Management Services, and Human Resources Services. The main requirements for the program are that participants must have obtained their first degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) and that they should have little or no work experience.

The GTP is designed to meet specific personnel needs of the Institute and involves an intensive, one-year training in the Institute’s operational research support units. A participant, Mr. Akinsoji Akinyemi, said “As a trainee, the GTP has, over time, structured my professional competence in performing different functions in the area of human resources. I find it a very useful program.” Successful participants who fully satisfy the conditions for appointment would be offered a place in the Institute. 1

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HR holds pensions HR4U: New HR fund administrators’ software customer forum Good news! HRS has acquired a Some retirees of the Institute have been experiencing difficulties in getting their retirement pensions from the Pension Funds Administrators (PFA). This situation was further complicated by the non-remittance of funds held by the defunct National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). Most of the problems came about as a result of improper and/or conflicting documentation on the part of the retirees concerned. Moreover, existing staff face other problems in relation to their registration and fund transfer from NSITF to PFAs. Thus, HR organized an interactive session with the relevant PFAs to address the challenges faced by staff members on pension administration and benefit handling. In this forum, staff members were provided the opportunity to meet representatives of PFAs and receive guidance and further enlightenment on the scheme. Concerns discussed at the forum include delay in transferring of funds from NSITF to the individual Retirement Savings Account (RSA) with their choice PFAs, delay in issuance of certificates of registration, errors in staff or organization’s name, delay in sending RSA reports, confusing messages from PFA to account holders, and many others.

new human resources (HR) database software—a fully integrated solution customized for IITA. This package is capable of handling, among others, online leave application and approval. It provides for self service that enables staff to upload their photos, keep their favorite online links such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It also has a provision for notice board that reflects alerts for things that need urgent attention. There is a quote for a day, a daily dose of words of encouragement and truth, and other features. A seminar for staff was held on 28 and 29 June at the conference center on the use of HR4U. HR Manager, Mrs. Lilian Mendoza, while welcoming participants, said that HR4U is geared towards full automation and to promote a paperless environment. “You can now apply for your leave and get a response to your application from your work station,” she said. HR4U was launched in Ibadan this month. Other IITA stations will follow later. For support, please contact Wole Amusa on ext. 2393 or o.amusa@cgiar.org and Noah Matovu on ext. or n.matovu@cgiar.org

Former President Obasanjo visits IITA

Tax seminar in IITA-Ibadan A seminar was held for all staff on the New Personal Income tax (Amendment) Act (PITAM) 2011 law as signed into law by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The seminar, given by Seyi Fashokun of the Finance Directorate on 1 June, aims to inform staff about the new tax regime and update them on implementation of the new tax law in IITA. Section 5 of the law states that “A consolidated tax relief allowance shall be granted on gross income at a flat rate of N200, 000 or 1% of gross income (whichever is higher) plus 20% of gross income.” This provision replaces relief and allowances such as housing, transport, utility, meal, entertainment leave, children, dependent, and allowances in the old tax law. It states further that “where the computed tax is less than 1% of the gross income, then 1% of the gross income should be taken as the tax payable in that circumstance.” However, there are tax-exempt items which include the National Housing Fund contribution, National Health Insurance Scheme contribution, Life Assurance premium, National Pension Scheme contribution; and Gratuities. This new tax regime does not exempt any category of NRS (including casuals) in the Institute and will be applied in IITA-Nigeria retroactive 1 April. A similar seminar was held for Ikeja Guest House, Kano station and Abuja Farm Office staff on 5, 6, and 7 June, respectively.

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, inspects an exhibition on cassava products mounted for him and other dignitaries during a recent visit to the Institute. 2

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Tragedy averted during sportsfest swimming contest A near tragedy was averted when azRed team contestant who jumped into the pool during one swimming event was promptly rescued by staffspectators. The swimming umpire reported that the contestant came to the pool side looking well prepared for the competition. When interviewed by HR, the contestant said he swam last in the stream in his village 10 years ago. The sportsfest secretary, speaking on behalf of the Sportsfest Committee, said team coordinators have been advised to ensure that only fit, screened, and tested contestants should participate in competitions to avoid this kind of situation.

IITA conducts medical screening for staff Most people are ignorant of the state of their health. People take their health and well-being for granted.

diseases are unveiled, and early treatment commenced to prevent possible complications.

Thus, the need for periodic medical screening is important to ascertain the health condition of individuals. IITA has been carrying out periodic health checks on staff for several years now.

The categories of staff currently involved in this exercise are IRS, drivers, and NRS managers. The screening exercise for other categories of staff such as foodhandlers, field workers, and sprayers will soon come up.

The IITA Clinic has been conducting the Biennial Medical Screening exercise in June and July this year. While laboratory tests and physical examinations have been done at the IITA clinic, staff had to carry out a few tests at the University College Hospital and Two Tees Diagnostic XRay Center. The biennial medical screening is part of the health care package provided by IITA to staff, with a view to having a healthy and strong workforce. During the medical screening exercise, the staff member’s health is reviewed, medical counsel is given, latent

Fun, fun, and fun at School’s 40th anniversary open house Fun, fun, fun This year’s Open and House at the at School’s 40th International School of IITA held anniversary open house in June marked a significant milestone in the school’s history. The school turned 40 years old!

The program provided something for everyone. Children sang and danced to drumming. A historical exhibit/ time line of the school since 1972 and children’s works were displayed in the school hall and a variety of games were provided with prizes to spice up the day. Shoppers also had a hey day with so many booths selling various souvenir items, art work and painting, clothes, kitchen wear, bead work and jewelry, and many more items. The Women’s Group had a bake sale to raise funds for scholarship awards with I-House providing different kinds of snacks and drinks. The event was rounded off by a raffle with a wonderful array of prizes. It was a feast of color and fun that launched the fund raising for a school bus with a bang!

Mrs. Carole Inniss-Palmer, the head of the School, was full of appreciation to everyone who contributed to the success of the day.

Students presented a dance number

Newsletter staff Editor: Tunde Obasemola Asst. editor: Abiodun Adio Contributors: HR & Communication Design and Layout: Ibukun Shodeinde and Juba Adegboyega Distribution: Ibukun Shodeinde Advisers: Lilian Mendoza & Katherine Lopez Contact: s.obasemola@cgiar.org

In future, the scope of coverage for the exercise will be broadened. Meanwhile, interested staff are encouraged to do some of the critical tests. If you are not covered by this exercise now, there is a future plan to broaden the scope of coverage for the exercise. Meanwhile, you can decide to do a few of the critical ones on your own. You may wish to contact the Clinic for counsel. Remember, health is wealth.

Words managers use This is just to lighten your day. 1. ”We will do it” means “You will do it” 2. ”You have done a great job” means “More work to be given to you” 3. ”We are working on it” means “We have not yet started working on the same” 4. ”After discussion we will decide. I am very open to views” means “I have already decided, I will tell you what to do” 5. ”Let’s call a meeting and discuss” means “I have no time now; will talk later” 6. ”We can always do it” means “We actually cannot do the same on time” 7. ”We are on the right track but there needs to be a slight extension of the deadline” means “The project is stalled, we cannot deliver on time.” 8. ”We had slight differences of opinion” means “We had actually fought” 9. ”We need to find out the real reason” means “Well I will tell you where your fault is” 10.”Well family is important; your leave is always granted. Just ensure that the work is not affected,” means, “Work is the only priority” 11.”We are a team,” means, “I am not the only one to be blamed” 12.”That’s actually a good question” means “I do not know anything about it”. 3

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Sportsfest 2012 scrapbook 1

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Sportsfest 2012 opening: 1: The DG leads the opening walk from the Conference Center to the Sports Center. 2-7: The different teams parade in a kaleidoscope of colors. 4

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8: The White team leads the chanting during the opening program. 9: The opening featured an exhibition football match between two ladies team.

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10: Winners’ trophies during the closing ceremony held on 26 July at the Sports Center. 11: The DG gives the football players a pep talk before the start of the final football match. The DG holds up the trophy of the winning team during the closing program. 13

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13-15: Winners receive their trophies from the DG and DDG during the closing ceremony.

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Talking Drums August 2012 Issue  

Talking Drums August 2012 issue

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