Nigeria

DAWODU.COM 

Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues

 

2009 US DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY INFORMATION

 

October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007

 

 

LUNARPAGES.COM and IPOWERWEB.COM - Despicable WebHosts - Read My Story

 

 

 

Nigeria's Officialdom and Public Expenditure Waste

 

 

By

 

Mobolaji E. Aluko

alukome@aol.com

Burtonsville, MD, USA

Monday, December 22, 2003

 

 

 

 

The Guardian
Sunday, December 21, 2003

 

40 Per Cent Federal Workers May Lose Job

Directors Write Exams To Determine Suitability
FROM MARTINS OLOJA (Abuja Bureau Chief)

PALPABLE fear reigns in Abuja among civil servants as the Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has confirmed presidential mandate to retrench up to 40 per cent of federal civil servants.

Okonjo-Iweala took the sensitisation of government reforms to the doorsteps of the potential victims last week when she addressed federal directors, deputy directors and assistant directors at the opening session of a three-day compulsory retreat that culminated in mandatory examinations for the directors.

The retreat, which began for officers of directorate levels from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13, December, 2003 was co-ordinated by the office of the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office (PSO) of the office of the Head of Service.

The Guardian gathered that even officers who were on annual leave and leave of absence were recalled to participate in the three-day exercise at the Centre for Women Development, Abuja.

Though the press was not involved in the exercise, it was confirmed that Thursday the Finance Minister was invited to talk to the bureaucrats at the opening session. And during her presentation, the essence of the retreat became apparent to the participants, a source noted at the weekend.

According to the source, the top bureaucrats watched in awe as the Minister made power-point presentation of statistical data of government's revenue and expenditure profiles.

The profiles showed why government could not continue to spend about 80 per cent of its total revenue on about one per cent of the population in the civil service.

The Minister, who dropped the hint of what she called "right sizing" of the federal workforce to The Guardian in a recent interview, reportedly told the retreat participants point blank that about 40 per cent of the federal workforce would have to go in the public interest.

She said the "right sizing" would cut across all the strata of the public service.

The Guardian learnt that last Friday's movement of 25 permanent secretaries and 68 directors was part of the agenda to prepare the civil service for reforms including compilation of names of those to be retrenched.

Five retired permanent secretaries are said to be part of the consortium of consultants to the government on the reform package. They include Chief Fortunatus O. Williams, who retired in 2001 from FCT; Chief P. Nwokedi, who retired as Permanent Secretary, Finance Ministry in 2001; Dr. Adamu Fika, who retired with the Williams' generation.

Also noticed at the Retreat was Mr. R. Akabueze, former Auditor-General of the Federation

The Finance Minister had earlier set the tone for the bad news for civil servants three weeks ago. She had informed officers of her ministry and the extra-ministerial departments, including office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), that she had the mandate of the President to "right size" the federal workers to the tune of 40 per cent.

It was further learnt that public officers who were sceptical about the seriousness attached to the reform were stunned on Saturday, December 13, when they were made to sit for tough examinations on public service issues.

The result of the tests, according to sources, "will determine mental fitness and suitability of the officers for public office in the new dispensation."

Sources close to the Economic Team of the President revealed that the Federal Executive Council was confounded recently when the team turned in figures for monetisation benefits of mainstream civil servants.

Going by the figures made available to The Guardian, while National Assembly officers would require about N5 billion judicial officers would need N7 billion, to settle the largesse.

And while public servants including the President's men and political appointees would require just about N450 million, mainstream civil servants require a princely N200 billion for the monetisation benefits.

Apart from the public servants' remunerations, the Obasanjo government is reportedly desperate to reform the public sector in order to cut cost of running government.

Specifically, the Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala, the arrowhead of the public sector reforms, will revisit Estacode allowances for top officers on duty tour abroad very soon.

At the moment, Minister/SGF/Head of Service draw $400 per night, Permanent Secretary $360 per night, officers on GL 16 and 17 $340 per night; and those on GL 14 and 15 $305 per night.

Officers on GL 10-13 $245 per night; officers on GL 07-09 ($205); officers on GL 01-06 US$ (165).

These figures are contained in Chapter 16 Rule 1602 of the Revised Public Service Rules.

The Guardian also learnt that the top officers' Estacode allowances may be affected by the current reform just as the protocol arrangement for public officers may also be reviewed.

Diplomatic sources confirmed recently that the Minister of Finance, who led a team to meet creditor nations in London shortly after the Ministers' Retreat in Abuja, was told that Nigeria must do something about its lifestyle as a debtor nation if it must ask for sympathy.

The creditors, led by Britain, informed Okonjo-Iweala and her team, including FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, that the British Government accommodates and provides vehicles (two items) to only the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer resident at 10 and 12, Downing Street, London.

The Nigerian delegates were also told that the "Estacode allowance of Nigeria is about one of the highest in the world especially in a country (Nigeria) where officers travel anyhow for weeks and months. Once you reduce Estacode and place limitation on number of days, the propensity to jet out anyhow will also reduce."

Besides, the creditors reportedly urged the Nigerian delegates to examine the profile of public officers including the number of protocol vehicles accompanying the President, Vice President, Senate President, the Speaker, Governors, among others.

They (creditors) wondered what the officers do with about 50 vehicles in the convoy of public officers in a debtor nation with low income, the diplomatic sources said.

"The creditors especially Britain told the Nigerian delegates that unless Nigerians reform their lifestyle to reflect moderation and waste control, the British Government would not be able to present before the Parliament that they want to forgive Nigeria her debt to Britain," the sources added.

The (creditors) also cited the examples of some Nigerian public officers, who are known to have driven up property rates in the United Kingdom because they bought up some streets in cash and their records are in the Deeds Registry.

"How can we explain that, in our Appropriation Bill to the Parliament," they asked the Nigerian delegates to London creditor-debtor parley.

_____________________________________________________________________

Excerpt:

 

QUOTE

 

According to the source, the top bureaucrats watched in awe as the Minister made power-point presentation of statistical data of government's revenue and expenditure profiles.   The profiles showed why government could not continue to spend about 80 per cent of its total revenue on about one per cent of the population in the civil service............

 

Apart from the public servants' remunerations, the Obasanjo government is reportedly desperate to reform the public sector in order to cut cost of running government.  Specifically, the Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala, the arrowhead of the public sector reforms, will revisit Estacode allowances for top officers on duty tour abroad very soon.

 

At the moment, Minister/SGF/Head of Service draw $400 per night, Permanent Secretary $360 per night, officers on GL 16 and 17 $340 per night; and those on GL 14 and 15 $305 per night.   Officers on GL 10-13 $245 per night; officers on GL 07-09 ($205); officers on GL 01-06 US$ (165).

 

These figures are contained in Chapter 16 Rule 1602 of the Revised Public Service Rules.

 

The Guardian also learnt that the top officers' Estacode allowances may be affected by the current reform just as the protocol arrangement for public officers may also be reviewed.

 

Diplomatic sources confirmed recently that the Minister of Finance, who led a team to meet creditor nations in London shortly after the Ministers' Retreat in Abuja, was told that Nigeria must do something about its lifestyle as a debtor nation if it must ask for sympathy.

 

The creditors, led by Britain, informed Okonjo-Iweala and her team, including FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, that the British Government accommodates and provides vehicles (two items) to only the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer resident at 10 and 12, Downing Street, London.

 

The Nigerian delegates were also told that the "Estacode allowance of Nigeria is about one of the highest in the world especially in a country (Nigeria) where officers travel anyhow for weeks and months. Once you reduce Estacode and place limitation on number of days, the propensity to jet out anyhow will also reduce."

 

Besides, the creditors reportedly urged the Nigerian delegates to examine the profile of public officers including the number of protocol vehicles accompanying the President, Vice President, Senate President, the Speaker, Governors, among others.

 

They (creditors) wondered what the officers do with about 50 vehicles in the convoy of public officers in a debtor nation with low income, the diplomatic sources said.

 

"The creditors especially Britain told the Nigerian delegates that unless Nigerians reform their lifestyle to reflect moderation and waste control, the British Government would not be able to present before the Parliament that they want to forgive Nigeria her debt to Britain," the sources added.

 

The (creditors) also cited the examples of some Nigerian public officers, who are known to have driven up property rates in the United Kingdom because they bought up some streets in cash and their records are in the Deeds Registry.

 

"How can we explain that, in our Appropriation Bill to the Parliament," they asked the Nigerian delegates to London creditor-debtor parley.

 

UNQUOTE

 

ALUKO COMMENTARY

The issue of unconscionable use of the overwhelming majority of public funds for a very tiny minority of public servants has been one of the open secrets and banes of Nigeria's political life.  The injustice of "monkey dey work, baboon dey chop," which has been institutionalized over the years, is now happily being brought to the forefront, and pressure to correct it must be continued.

 

There is no other area in which that unconscionable use is apparent than in Estacodes provided to public officers.  The high values quoted above confirm once and for all  the constant (and oft-ignored) campaign by economist Prof. Sam Aluko against this particular crime against Nigeria's humanity.   Just imagine what happens when a 40-person delegation including 5 ministers, each with a retinue of 7 GL-9 to GL 16  (average GL-12-and-a-half) officers each goes to Paris for a 7-day meeting, with the ministers traveling in First-Class, the others on average Business Class, etc.  A back-of-the-envelope calculation easily puts travel, accommodation and Estacode at $261,775.00 .   Multiplying that by N140 puts the total at N36,648,500.

 

Just for 7 days!  I bet that we do that Jamboree at least three times in a year.  Certainly the President himself does at least half that number of total people 12 times in a year!  (Hmmm....)

 

Just imagine a Grade One salary earner (current minimum wage N7,500) going abroad "on a government mission" JUST FOR ONE DAY earning an estacode of $165 or N23,100 - more than three times her monthly salary!  For just 7 days,  will earn her just under two years of her salary!   Does that make sense? What will she (or he) not do to get into that plane and go to Paris?

 

This must stop. 

 

Finally, who are these "cited.......Nigerian public officers, who are known to have driven up property rates in the United Kingdom because they bought up some streets in cash and their records are in the Deeds Registry ?"    We are not talking about industrialists and family-money inheritors:  this is about public officers!  Don't they have names, addresses and phone numbers?  Can't ICPC be asked to get them to explain how they came about these resources that are recorded in British and American and French and German and Swiss" Deeds Registries?

 

Inquiring minds want to know all of these things.

 

Finally, there really will be be NO NEED to fire ANYBODY in the civil service if some of these financially  prudent steps are exercised.  A 1% civil service population is NOT LARGE as governments of the world go:  it is our REMUNERATIONS and ALLOWANCES and non-tight FINANCIAL CONTROLS that make our recurrent expenditures expensive.

 

Anyway, kudos to the Finance Minister for highlighting some of these long-standing problems.  Maybe, just maybe, this woman Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (along with that other woman in Due Process, Oby Ezekwesili) will get us somewhere, and save us beaucoup de money.

 

Just maybe - if we men will let them survive.

 

Compliments of the season to everyone.

 

Bolaji Aluko

RETURN TO HOME PAGE

horizontal rule

1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to  legal recourse.

Contact:   webmaster@dawodu.com

Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA  20171-0080, USA.

This page was last updated on 10/27/07.