7 December 2012

Nigeria: Oshiomhole Faults Sanusi, Calls for 50 Percent Cut in Govt Overheads

Photo: Vanguard
Vanguard newspaper illustrates the concern.

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, Thursday in Abuja, held a divergent view from the one espoused by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who called for a 50 per cent reduction in the civil service workforce, as a means of reducing the cost of governance.

Oshiomhole who spoke at the launch of the Nigerian Employees Digital Welfare Scheme (NEDWS), organised by Buyright Africa, advised government to reduce the overhead cost of all government functionaries by 50 per cent, instead of reducing the workforce of civil servants by 50 per cent.

He insisted that the Nigerian workers remained the wealth driver of the Nigerian economy.

Although the Edo State Governor acknowledged Sanusi's position that government was spending too much on areas that are not profitable to the society, he insisted that frivolous spending by government has been on the overhead costs of all government functionaries.

According to him, "ministers, commissioners, directors in government parastatals all live exclusively on government for their travels and they all fly first and business class with the best international airlines, thus generating so much cost for government at the end of the day."

He explained that in developed countries, such categories of government employees flew in economy class, "but in Nigeria, government officials travel with their aides, and all expenses put on government's account."

He said Sanusi was right on the cost of governance in Nigeria being high, but held the view that Sanusi had left the real issues unaddressed by threatening Nigerian workers with the sack syndrome.

"I agree with Sanusi's submission that the structure of public spending is on the high side, but he was defective in his comment, because he did not consider the welfare of the Nigerian workers who are the real drivers of the economy," Oshiomhole said.

Supporting Oshiomhole in his submission, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Umar, also faulted Sanusi on his call for a 50 per cent cut in the workforce of civil servants.

He said Sanusi left the issue of corruption in government circles, to dwell on issues that will affect the Nigerian workers negatively.

"Sanusi has the right of speech, but he must guide his utterances as a government official," Umar said, during his good will message at the event.

Commending Buyright Africa for its initiative, Oshiomhole said the scheme would directly affect the Nigerian workers in a positive way and promised that Edo Sate will buy into the scheme. He also called on other state governments to do likewise.

In his welcome address, Chairman of Buyright Africa, Leo Stan-Ekeh said: "Buyright Africa has some funding to project the Nigerian employee. It gives them the opportunity to buy digital equipment of any brand from Buyright Africa, and pay under a flexible payment system stretched over a period of 3 to 12 months."

Ekeh, who also spoke on entrepreneurial skills, said he would be launching a book on entrepreneurial skills by 2014.

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