Nigerian government adopts cost saving measures

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Governors of the thirty six states in Nigeria, as members of the National Economic Council, NEC, have expressed satisfaction with the collaboration that exists between them and the Muhammadu Buhari- led Presidency.

They have also commended the transparent leadership style of the Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The 73rd meeting of NEC focused on a comprehensive review of key policy actions undertaken by the States and Federal Government to address the economic challenges facing the nation.

The Governors, at the end of the December NEC meeting gave a standing ovation, to the Federal government and the Vice President.

Speaking earlier, while summarizing some of the conclusions of the End- of-Year-Review meeting of NEC, the Vice President noted that “there is a greater need for more collaboration between the Federal Government and the States.”

Addressing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai said “the level of transparency that has been demonstrated by the FG and the Vice President as Chair of this Council has never been demonstrated in this villa.”

Cost of Governance

He said the Nigerian government will revisit the report on the merger of its agencies, to reduce duplication and cost of running such agencies.

“On reducing the cost of governance at the federal level, we suggested looking at the Stephen Orosanye report that suggested the merger to reduce a duplication of the agencies of government. The federal government has 580 agencies; they are too many and they cost too much. Even within ministries and agencies, they need to consider merging departments,” he said.

The governors of the thirty six states also decided to reduce the fleet of vehicles on their convoys, as well as the number of their political appointees, to reduce the cost of governance.

They also resolved to wade into the crisis in the Niger-Delta, to address cases of pipeline vandalism, which has affected oil production and the country’s revenue from oil.

Governor El-Rufa’i also said the current administration should not be blamed for the hardship Nigerians are going through.

“When people say that this administration has impoverished them, I think they are not being fair because all of us inherited a governmental structure at state and federal levels, that was built around the assumption that oil price was going to remain at $100 per barrel.

By the time we took over, prices went to as low as $26 per barrel, thus dropping government revenue, which depends a lot on oil. When I left government as a Minister in 2007 we left $40 billion in reserves and $27 billion in the Excess Crude Account but all that was blown without saving anything for the rainy day and that is what we are suffering today, ” El-Rufai stated.

Economic Recovery

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, revealed that the Nigerian government is determined to change the country from a consuming nation to a producing one.

“We, in this administration are not responsible for the difficulties Nigeria is going through. We are actually a rescue team, working on rescuing Nigeria from the position we find ourselves in and under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari we are determined to take Nigeria out of this situation. We are not going to spend our time looking backwards. We are determined to change things in this country, to change Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing nation,” he affirmed.

The Minister also said that is why government is now developing the recovery and growth plan, which is the main focus of the 2017 budget.