Travel Cut,Tinubu Do More
IN Nigeria, government at all levels have been vilified and heavily criticized for profligacy and wastage in conducting government businesses and activities over the years. This manifested in virtually all areas of governance including outrageous entourage of government officials both within and during international engagements as recently witnessed during the United Nation’s annual climate summit, COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where the country was represented by a very large delegates of over 1,114 people. Indeed, wastage in government spending have been intensely criticized over the years without acceptable results or change in wasteful spendings.
THIS unacceptable practice was the order of the day by all political office holders in their overwhelming bid to enrich themselves despite the dwindling resources of the country resulting in the inability of governments at all levels to discharge their very important responsibilities to their citizenry.
IT was therefore a delight and a welcome development when President Bola Tinubu announced a drastic reduction in his official entourage during local and international travels. In an effort to cut cost of governance at the federal level, the President directed that all official entourage to state and international events be drastically slashed by 60 percent.
ACCORDINGLY, the President would now travel with only 20 officials unlike before when the number was over 50 people; the Vice President would travel with five officials, the first lady and the wife of the Vice President are now permitted to have five accompanying officials respectively. For local trips, the number of officials for the President, Vice President, wife of the President, and wife of the Vice President has been reduced to 25, 15, 10 and 10 in that order respectively. This new directive by the President is not only commendable but the right path to trend in this era of paucity of funds to take care of the needs of the citizenry.
HOWEVER, in spite of the laudable progressive step of reducing or cutting cost of running government through drastic 60 percent cut in the size of federal official entourage on travels, government still needs to do more to reduce the cost of governance in totality to cut and eliminate all wasteful and unnecessary items to which a lot of resources of the country are being committed.
THE over bloated number of political appointees need to be cut down significantly and their appendages not just at the federal level but also at the states and local government levels where lots of wastes are associated with governance. Other areas where government needs to reduce cost of governance include those related to over invoicing, over inflated and over pricing of contracts and frivolous expenditure on fake and uncompleted government contracts. Medical tourism and spending on foreign education that are easily available in the country should be discontinued to reduce pressure on the country’s foreign exchange and make more funds available for critical sectors of the country’s economy such as health, education and infrastructure that are grossly unavailable and poorly funded at present.
OF course, the state and local governments that have been accused of widespread corruption and frivolous spendings should key into the example of the federal government by making concerted efforts to cut wastage and cut cost of governance that are often over bloated. Also, Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at federal, states and local governments must be compelled to follow suit and reduce wastage in their areas of operation. The legislators should also reduce cost and stop unproductive employment and creation of unnecessary agencies, departments and institutions in their constituencies.
THE President should go further to ensure that all governmentMDAs reduce the cost of governance in their jurisdiction as well as reduce the number of Ministers in the country,otherwise, the present directive will not achieve the desired result of reduction in costs of running government affairs in the country.
THE President should convey a meeting of political leaders to brief and convince them to buy into and support his aspiration to cut the cost of governance in the country. He should institute compliance monitoring machinery to ensure all MDAs and governments in the country follow his example in all parts of the country. This initiative should be embraced and supported by all well meaning Nigerians.