by Isi Esene
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday called on the Federal Government to slash 50 per cent of the entire civil service workforce.
He lamented that 70 per cent of the nation’s earnings go to the payment of salaries and entitlements of civil servants.
Sanusi said this at the Second Annual Capital Market Committee Retreat in Warri, Delta State. He argued that his recommendation will afford the FG an opportunity to free up capital for infrastructure development and buoy the economy.
According to the CBN governor, “At the moment 70 per cent of Federal Government’s revenue goes for payment of salaries and entitlement of civil servants, leaving 30 per cent for development of 167 million Nigerians. That means that for every naira government earns, 70 kobo is consumed by civil servants.
“You have to fire half of the civil service because the revenue of the government is supposed to be for 167 million Nigerians. Any society where government spends 70 per cent of its revenue on its civil service has a problem. It is unsustainable.
“The various tiers of government should cut down their recurrent expenditure and use the fund to provide basic infrastructure like schools, hospital, etc.
“How can we be using the proceeds from our major source of revenue to service recurrent expenditure, by paying salaries, allowances, etc. The country should be thinking of enhancing its productivity base rather than spending on things that cannot create wealth.”
He said when the expenses of lawmakers, civil servants and those in the executive arm of government are totalled, Nigerians will find out that their national revenue has been consumed by the executive, lawmakers and civil servants.
“Do we need 774 LGAs? Do we need 36 states some of which are not viable? Why not just remove them and have only state governments?” he asked rhetorically.
He reportedly said, “There are state governors whose monthly allocations are barely enough to pay salaries. I hear such governors complain and I say ‘why complain when the solution is simple?’ It is irresponsible to use all your money to pay salaries and wait for another month’s allocation and pay salaries and after four years, you would have done nothing.”
He went further to advocate the total removal of fuel subsidy.
According to him: “People have the right to demand transparency. If you want to remove subsidy, you have to show what happened to those who stole.”
The Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was also at the event, however, disagreed with the CBN governor, saying, “I don’t agree with the CBN governor that we should sack our workers to reduce the recurrent expenditure in our budget without providing alternatives.”