by Adeniyi Abdul
Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has once again decried the nation’s rising expenditure, stating that the public sector wage bill has quadrupled in three years. Speaking at a forum of the organised private sector and Civil Society Organisations in Abuja on Tuesday, she called for the reduction of Ministries, Departments and Agencies as stated in the Stephen Orasanye report, to check leakages needed to grow other sectors of the economy. The Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu, revealed that the wage bill of the public sector had increased from N443 billion in 2009 to N1.659trillion in 2012. He also also stated that the share of personnel cost as percentage of aggregate expenditure increased from 27 per cent of the total federal government spending to 34 per cent in 2012. He attributed this to several wage increases granted to public workers, including ASUU, medical personnel, civil servants and the Minimum Wage Act of 2011.
“We’ll also be working – and Mr President is focusing on this – on stemming the bunkering that is also a source of leakage of revenue from the economy.” Okonjo-Iweala. “So those areas will also give us some additional resources that we can utilise towards financing our expenditure”
“These are some of the issues that we are looking at.” she continued. “In the long term, whatever few resources we have, have to be directed into priority areas.”
“Remember I said fiscal consolidation and growth. We have to try not to expand into every area with ever more and more projects. We have more than 6000 nfinished projects now, but to ask ourselves which are the critical few sectors where we can really direct expenditure and get returns.”