FG to enforce fiscal discipline in states to check wasteful expenses

Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, has said the Federal Government is determined to enforce fiscal discipline across the states to check wasteful spending, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Shehu, in a statement issued in Abuja, on Monday, said the Federal Government was not limiting its economic and financial reform programmes to the centre alone.

He said the Federal Government would force the state governments to reform their spendings and build savings and investments.

The presidential aide was reacting to the current economic and financial challenges facing the country.

Shehu said the reform would include blockage of leakages that allowed government’s revenues to be siphoned into private hands.

He said the ongoing probe into the finances of the military authorities was part of the reforms aimed at checking corrupt practices in the military establishment.

“Look at what a civilian administration is today doing to the military, investigating their finance and accounts that the military could not do to themselves.

“See what the current administration is doing to sanitise the huge salary bill by eliminating payroll fraud.

“So far, the federal payroll has been rid of about 40,000 ghost workers. More than N8 billion stolen monthly has been saved.

“We are also saving on wasteful expenses like first-class travel and private jets for official trips.

“The Federal Government is not limiting the reforms to the centre, but forcing state governments to reform their spending and build savings or investments,’’ he said.

According to Shehu, government was also increasing spending on capital projects, especially on infrastructure needed to make Nigerian businesses competitive and create jobs.

He said if these things had been done when the oil price was as high as $140 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament.

“I will make the confession that we, the officials hired to communicate government policies, that includes myself, have not done as well as we should have.

“The truth is that more than any other time before, there is a clear direction and strategy for achieving growth and development.

“Revisionists may not agree, but the truth of the matter is that the previous administration only had one issue, which was how to spend money (oil revenues and borrowed money).’’