FG spends N1.353trn on travels, training, stationery in 3 years

•Institutes monetary incentives on innovation

Facts appeared in Abuja on Thursday that the Federal Government spent N1.353 trillion on five overhead expenditure items between 2012 and 201.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun who was at the Cost Management Workshop for senior government officials organised by the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance said that heads of Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies would be held accountable for any management of public funds under their supervision

She disclosed that travels, maintenance, training, office stationery and consumer consumables and welfare together gulped 60 per cent of overhead expenses, during the three years under consideration.

Adeosun said government was targeting aggressive reductions in costs, in order to do more with the same available funds.

“No economy has grown doing what we have been doing and therefore we need a really concerted effort to control our recurrent expenditure.

“You are accountable for how public funds are spent. We are building systems to ensure that everybody that is in charge of a public budget is held accountable.

“Eliminating waste is a national duty for every public officer and as the president has told us, change begins with you and me,’’ she said.

Adeosun said that the Efficiency Unit identified some ways through which public funds were wasted and needed the collaboration of other agencies to see that the scarce funds were prudently used.

She said that the unit planned to cut costs in areas such as stationary and computer procurement, consumables, local and international training, publicity and adverts, refreshments and meals.

She said that the unit was working to create a standard rate for such activities and every government agency was expected to comply with it.

In her remarks, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita said from 2017, Federal Government would give financial rewards and incentives for innovative staff, ministries and departments.

Oyo-Ita disclosed that in its 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, her office has set developing enterprise culture and commercial orientation in the service as one of its goals.

“This will transform civil service from being perceived as a cost centre to revenue earners and enhance value for money in government expenditures.

“It will also eliminate leakages and wastages in the public financial procurement system and ensure less dependence on MDAs on subventions/appropriations from government.

“Other benefits of the initiative are ensuring that the civil service and MDAs become idea generation powerhouses, thus complementing the private sector in creating business opportunities.”

Oyo-Ita declared that the innovations will pivot around getting more value out of existing government assets while there shall be financial rewards and incentives for innovative staff and MDAs. We have made provision for this in the 2017 budget proposal.”

In a presentation, Ms Patience Oniha, Head of Efficiency Unit, stated that government was on the way to saving N14 billion per annum from reduced spending on travel, sitting allowances and printing of various items.

“Secured air travel discounts of 7 per cent to 50 per cent from 19 local, regional and international airlines. This is expected to save the government over N5 billion per annum in air travel,” she added.

In addition, the unit made recommendations for the issuance of circulars on honorarium, meals and refreshments, advertising and publicity, welfare and training with an estimated annual savings of N6.5 billion.