• en

Nigeria’s Current Economic Reality Demands 60% Cut In Overall Governance Cost, Says Peter Obi 

“This implies that the recently passed federal budget needs to be revised to cut all wasteful, and unnecessary items.

Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in last year’s general election, Peter Obi, has called on  the federal government to go beyond the 60% cut in travel allowance of officials and cut the cost of the entire governance by 60% which the current economic reality in the country demands.

The former Anambra State stated this on his X Account, on Thursday, adding, “The just announced 60% cut in the size of federal official entourages on travels is one positive step towards the reduction of cost of governance and a way of halting wastage.

“This measure is just scratching the surface as it is limited in scope and can only lead to a very negligible saving.  We are yet to be told how much savings this will amount to.

“While this modest step may be somewhat commendable, what is desirable should be both a 60% reduction in federal official overseas trips as well as a 60% reduction in the size of delegations.

“Most importantly, what our current economic reality demands is a 60% reduction in the total cost of governance at the federal level.

“This implies that the recently passed federal budget needs to be revised to cut all wasteful,  and unnecessary items. This is the level of cost-cutting and savings that can impact meaningfully the present state of the economy.

“This level of cut in the cost of government should lead to substantial savings. Such savings should be used to fund the productive sectors of the economy and much-needed social investments, especially in three key areas:  education, healthcare, and the migration of millions of Nigerians from poverty.

“Most importantly, it is not enough to announce arbitrary cuts in the size of federal official entourages. The nation needs to be informed of how much the measure will save and where such savings will be applied.

“Our problem as a nation has gone beyond token populist gestures and announcements. We must be informed of the real details of the measures being implemented on our behalf.

“For a government that has made a hobby of indiscriminate borrowing, the only way to salvage the economy is to drastically cut the cost of government by reducing wasteful expenses and spending on inessential luxury items,” he stated

Meanwhile,  Obi has urged the government to ensure that all those culpable in the scandal involving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Ms Betta Edu were brought to book.

Obi, in a write-up on his X Account, said the government should go beyond the suspension of the minister which he welcomed and carry out a comprehensive investigation into the matter by giving the problem of public sector corruption the severe urgency it deserves.

He expressed disappointment that a Ministry created in good faith to attend to the plight of the suffering masses was being turned into a conduit pipe to steal from the poor as seen in the current and previous ministers of the Ministry.

“I like to add my voice with most Nigerians concerned about accountability in government and judicious use of public funds,  to welcome the suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Betta Edu, and subsequent directives for her investigation.

“While the action of the government is a welcome development, the investigation must be comprehensive so that all those culpable are brought to book.”

The LP leader warned against taking the issue lightly, because “The suspension of the minister should not be a window-dressing action but should be a peg to get at all those who are deserving of blame and punished just like the minister.

“By a sad coincidence, the alleged fraudulent diversion of N585 million of public money by Ms. Edu broke almost at the same moment that the minister, who held the same portfolio in the last administration is being investigated for a whopping N37bn misappropriation.

“The Ministry may have been created by the system as a conduit pipe to siphon public funds while using the poor as a face. Equally worrisome and disgusting is the fact that the missing funds are meant for poverty alleviation in a time of severe suffering among the people.

“Unfortunately, the ruling elites can shamelessly convert, divert, or misappropriate such huge sums meant for the poor to address the severe poverty ravaging the people. It is not only immoral but also insensitive for those entrusted with funds for public welfare to steal from the poor.

“I call on the administration to use these cases to initiate a thorough system-wide and systematic investigation of all reported cases of fraud and corruption among high government officials in the country,” he stated.

Chuks Okocha and Michael Olugbode in Abuja

Follow us on: