The Federal Government will spend about N1.7 trillion on salaries this year versus N1.6 trillion last year. However, such big expenditure on non-capital projects is not healthy for the national economy.
Ngama , however, noted that such big expenditure on non-capital projects is not healthy for Nigerian economy. He said that before President Olusegun Obasanjo left office, he had set up a committee headed by Nasir el-Rufai with the aim to devise ways of reducing the huge recurrent expenditure. Ngama also shed some light on the root of the problem:
“The committee discovered that a good number of civil servants were redundant and not even qualified to occupy some positions. So they were weeded out. “But immediately Musa Yar’Adua came in, some people took advantage of his sickness and went to court to make sure that everybody that was sacked was returned. “And that is why we could not, at the federal level handle our salary problem because we increased the salaries. “We thought the number of redundant staff would be let go so that you can have concise civil servants with higher salaries.”
Minister also said the country cannot continue to spend this much on recurrent expenditure, given that some of the establishments are not productive.
“There are establishments we don’t even know how many people are employed there. Every company should have work chart. “Every person would represent a responsibility. If there are people that do not fit anywhere, then you don’t need them,” he added.
According to Ngama, one of the signs that Nigerian economy is in need of revamping is that over 10 million of children are out of school.
“The statistics of the number of children that are out of school, showed that Yobe State had 64 per cent; Borno State, 68 per cent and Zamfara State, 72 per cent. “The statistics showed that the best state in the north is worse than the worst state in the south. “And we are getting the same money as states in FAAC. So we need to ask ourselves what is the problem. “This is because it is not about the money but what comes out as well. So there are a lot of questions that we need to address,” he stated.
Previously the problem of the need to diversify the nation’s sources of revenue was addressed by the Niger State Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ibeto.
“It is actually very sad to note that over a long time in the history of this country, at a point, we depended solely on the revenue we got from agriculture. “We need to Marshall out resources, develop agriculture and ensure that people partake not only in activities like buying and selling but also in production.“