The federal government is set to cut personnel costs and merge Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) as revenue levels have declined partly due to the fluctuating oil prices recorded in 2020, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.
This hint was given by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, at the ongoing ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria’ in Abuja.
The program, according to Vanguard, was organized 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.
The program came after one Steve Oronsaye-led Committee on the restructuring of government MDAs had submitted its report for many years but the report was ignored due to lack of political will.
Mr. Ahmed said that current government spending has become imperative because the government’s expenditure keeps increasing geometrically compared to revenue.
The publication quoted the Minister as saying:
“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 payrolls in terms of stepping down on cost.”
The Finance Minister said that for agencies with the same mandate, the government would look at “how to merge the two.”
On his part, the Chairman of the ICPC, Mr. Bolaji Owasanoye, identified the cost of governance as a major driver of corruption in Nigeria, adding that payroll padding and the phenomenon of ghost workers were clear cases of corruption and factor of high Personnel cost in MDAs.