5 December 2012

Nigeria: Okonjo-Iweala - I Didn't Advocate Mass Sack of Civil Servants

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has denied media reports that she was in support of mass sack in the civil service.

The minister in a statement by her media aide, Mr. Paul Nwbuikwu, described the reports as absolutely untrue, adding that what she actually said was effectively the opposite.

"Specifically, she had stated that those canvassing for an increase in the capital budget and a concomitant reduction in recurrent expenditure should realise that the largest component of recurrent expenditure is personnel costs including salaries and wages.

"That is why government is careful about the issue because behind those figures are human beings and families whom you cannot just throw them away without considering the implication," the statement added.

She explained that because of this fundamental issue, the government's immediate strategy has focused on fighting waste and the ghost worker syndrome through mechanisms like biometrics.

Okonjo-Iweala, the statement stressed, also explained that implementing the Oronsaye Report on Civil Service Reforms, which recommended that agencies performing the same functions be merged will have some effect on the capital-recurrent ratio but perhaps not as much as many Nigerians would like in the short term.

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