Evidence of belt-tightening measures by the current administration came to the fore on Tuesday as President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the disbursement of N70 million only for the 2015 Independence celebrations.
Nigeria will mark her 55th independence anniversary on October 1.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, briefed journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
He was represented by the Permanent Secretary (Political) in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (OSGF), Ibukun Odusote.
The SGF said President Buhari approved the N70 million although he would have preferred the money to go into the payment of workers’ salaries.
The president, Lawal pointed out, had maintained that the money was too much to be spent on frivolities such as celebrations when Nigerians are grappling to survive the present day economic stress.
He said: “Let me emphasize that this year’s celebration is indeed low-key. This is because the present administration appreciates the economic hardship that Nigerians and indeed the nation is confronted with today.
“To address the situation, government has adopted a general policy to be very prudent in the management of our financial resources. This year’s celebration is therefore, in consonance with the cost saving policy direction of this administration”.
According to him, four events have been approved by the President for the entire celebration process.
He said: “The events are – Jumat prayers, international thanksgiving service, ceremonial change of guards and a children’s party”.
The independence anniversary would kick start with Jumat prayers on Friday, September 25, at the National Mosque, Abuja, which will be followed by interdenominational thanksgiving service on Sunday, September 27 at the National Christian Worship Centre, Abuja.
There will be ceremonial change of guards at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on October 1.
A Children’s party will be held on Saturday, October 3 at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
He added: “Apart from these four events the President will also address the nation on October 1.
“To ensure a successful commemoration, four sub-committees have been constituted to handle the preparations for each of the four events”.