Home FEATURES Bye Bye To Glamour In Governance, State Governors Resolved

Bye Bye To Glamour In Governance, State Governors Resolved

Ambode in Lagos
Governors of the 36 states in Nigeria have unanimously resolved today to prune down the cost of governance to face the reality of the current economic down-turn.
Rising from the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, held today at the Aso Presidential Villa, Abuja, the governors resolved to look at so many wasteful spending, especially on overhead, with a view to removing them.
In the meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the governors were concerned about the huge wage bill for their workers, for which President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced bailout funds to assuage.
Speaking to newsmen on behalf of his colleagues shortly after over six hours meeting, governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos said the governors also resolved to rally round President Buhari’s federal government to tackle the security challenges that have bedeviled the North East and South South, as well as to seriously address the bad situation of the nation’s economy.
Ambode said that there was no template for all the governors on how to reduce the cost of governance, adding that each state would look at some peculiar situation before embarking on such reduction.
Though the governors did not arrive at a uniform method of reducing the cost of governance, it was learnt that the major thing on the agenda would be the reduction in the number of political appointees, the number of vehicles for the governors and other officials of the states as well as the daily running cost of the government, including petty contracts.

“We resolved that all states should find ways to reduce their cost of governance,” governor Ambode emphasized, adding: “we do not have a  uniform template on how to reduce the cost of governance but it is very clear that states in the specific situations will find different ways and means of ensuring the cost of running governance is not as huge as it has always been.

“So, it is left for the states in their respective situation to find the different ways of cutting cost but what is important is that we cannot continue with the kind of huge burden or huge cost we apply to run our government.

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“A situation where you are having a huge percentage of your budget as recurrent ‎expenditure is obviously not acceptable. And you must look for ways in reducing the cost of administration in the various states.”

Ambode said the committee set up by the council during its last meeting to probe the expenses of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Excess Crude Account under the past administration would submit its report during their next meeting.

According to a council document released at the end of the meeting, the council received a presentation from the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on the update of restructuring of bank loans for the states and payment of salary arrears.

The governor was said to have informed the council that following meetings with banks, it was agreed that existing loans should be restructured for the minimum of 20 years while salary arrears should also be restructured for the minimum of 15 years and not exceed more than 20 years.

He added that states could opt for either the bond option, which would attract market rate, or the debt restructuring option, which would attract single digit rate.

“Council resolved that a four-man team made up of the governors of Bauchi, Rivers, Ondo and Osun States are to follow up with the CBN to ensure that the issues of Excess Crude Collateral for the states are sorted out by next week Tuesday,” the statement added.

The document also indicated that a presentation made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, showed that the Excess Crude Account currently stands at $2.078 billion.

The council directed the Committee on ECA to work with the Accountant-General’s office to resolve the gaps observed in the presentation. [myad]


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