FG to slash civil servants’ salaries, merge agencies, others – Zainab Ahmed

…Says it’s to cut cost

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the salaries committee to review payroll and also review the number of agencies.

Ahmed disclosed this at the on-going ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria’, which held in Abuja yesterday.

The government also said it will also remove some redundant items from the Budget, as a move to cut the cost of governance in the country.

The programme was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission, (ICPC).

The Federal Government had approved a N13.88 trillion Budget, with a deficit of over N5.6 trillion. It also projected revenue of N7.98 trillion to fund part of the 2021 Budget.

The finance boss said all agencies must come together to trim their costs amid the country’s dwindling revenue, 

She further revealed that the FG will also review the number of government agencies in terms of their mandates. Ahmed disclosed that as for the agencies having the same mandate, the government will look at “how to merge the two”.

The Chairman of the ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, noted, during the stakeholders’ meeting, that the cost of governance is the “driver of corruption in Nigeria”. He said the government has committed to improving the country’s revenue from new and existing sources.

Owasanoye added that the government’s commitment to streamline its payroll, removal of subsidies and reduction of the cost of contracts and procurement are all for the benefits of the “poor and vulnerable”.

He further explained that a critical area of concern was “payroll padding” and the “phenomenon of ghost workers”. 

The ICPC boss also lamented the duplication of projects such as the constituency projects of lawmakers, saying funding for such projects is usually released without any mechanism for monitoring and evaluation and reconciliation of the funding.

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