FG may review workers’ salaries, merge agencies to cut cost ― Finance minister

• Approve N13.88trn budget with deficit of N5.6trn

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, stated that it had directed the salaries committee to review payroll and also review the number of its agencies.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in Abuja at the ongoing National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

She said the government had also approved a N13.88trillion budget with a deficit of over N5.6trillion, noting that it had also projected revenue of N7.98trillion to fund part of the 2021 budget.

According to her: “We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue. 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.” She revealed.

The minister said the government would also review the number of government agencies in terms of their mandates, saying agencies with the same mandate, the government will look at “how to merge the two.”

In his speech, the ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, said the cost of governance was the driver of corruption in Nigeria.

He said the government’s commitment to streamline payroll, removal of subsidies and reduction of the cost of contracts and procurement are all for the benefits of the poor and vulnerable.

Professor Owasanoye, who said a critical area of concern was payroll padding and the phenomenon of ghost workers, also lamented the duplication of projects such as the constituency projects of lawmakers.

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