By Emma Ujah
Worried by persistent low revenue, the federal government is to cut personnel cost and merge MDAs.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, gave this indication at the on-going ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria’ held in Abuja, yesterday.
The programme was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC). According to the minister the government would also remove some items from the budget , going forward, to reduce government expenditure.
She said that current government spending has become imperative because, “We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue.
“We need to work together, all agencies of the government to cut down our cost. We need to cut down unnecessary expenditures. Expenditures that we can do without.
“Our budgets are filled year in year out with projects that we see over and over again and also projects that are not necessary.
“Mr President has directed that the salaries committee that I chair, work together with the Head of Service and other members of the committee to review the government pay rolls in terms of stepping down on cost.”
Mrs. Ahmed said that for agencies with the same mandate, the government would look at “how to merge the two.”
The Steve Oronsaye Committee on restructuring of government MDAs had submitted its report for many years but the report has not been implemented due to lack of political will.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the ICPC, Mr. Bolaji Owasanoye, identified the cost of governance as a major “driver of corruption in Nigeria.”
He said that “payroll padding” and the “phenomenon of ghost workers” were clear cases of corruption and factor of high Personnel cost in MDAs.
Vanguard News Nigeria