Chairman TMG, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani
Chairman TMG, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani

CISLAC rejects NGF’s proposal to One-off retirement package

NEWS DIGEST – The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, has condemned the proposal of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum that federal civil servants above 50 years of age should be treated to a one-off retirement package.

“We received the proposed measure to reducing cost of governance as a deceitful approach that may amplify existing socio-economic burden, suffering and inequalities among common Nigerians,” Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director of CISLAC, said in a press statement on Sunday.

CISLAC believes that the proposal mirrors lop-sidedness and insincerity, both issues that exceed the governors’ aim to reduce the overbearing cost of governance.

According to CISLAC, 85% of this sort of reform efforts have failed since independence, citing concerns that there could be dreadful impact from this proposal due to mismanagement and undue political interests.

The best course of action, CISLAC says, is for the federal and state government to draw attention to the various issues that has aggravated the cost of governance and led to socioeconomic inequalities in the country.

“This includes poor transparency and accountability, paving way for the inherent incompetence and abuse of public funds amounting to trillions of Naira by successive administrations at all levels.”

Underlying issues like ghost worker syndromes, fuel subsidy regime, public procurement and governors’ allowances, if left unattended to, could cost up to 37% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) by 2030, according to CISLAC.

The statement read: “We are concerned by the needless fuel subsidy regime, which serves as a major contributory challenge to high cost of governance in Nigeria, with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) estimating an average of N120 billion monthly paid by the government on petrol subsidy.

“We express total displeasure with the recurring challenges, monumental financial loss and grossly socio-economic cost of ghost workers syndrome that lingers especially at sub-national levels with recent reports exposing floods of ghost workers across many states in Nigeria.

“We are perturbed by unchecked inflated budget-line items, non-existed projects and the over-costed public contracts that permeates budgetary and procurement processes at all levels.

“Over N300 billion is lost to public procurement fraud annually, as reported by Chartered Institute of Forensics and Fraud Examiners of Nigeria in 2021.

“We are also worried by the increasing clamours for life-time pensions and benefits accrued to public office holders across the states, constituting a major component of the rising cost of governance”

A report by the African Development Bank, AfDB, has previously reviewed that Nigeria loses about 4% of its yearly GDP growth. CISLAC says a encouraging policy environment by the federal government continues to threaten industrial development.

CISLAC RECOMMENDATIONS
• We call on President Muhammad Buhari to take appreciable and drastic step to reduce the growing cost of governance in the country through targeted efforts to addressing institutionalised mismanagement, systemic embezzlement, inflated budget, procurement corruption, revenue loopholes, among others, to allow adequate resource allocation to finance critical sector and eradicate poverty at all levels.

• We encourage all levels of government to give serious consideration to economic diversification to agricultural and industrial sectors through targeted public-private partnership to discourage mono-economy, enhance human capital development and employment creation; as a complementary strategy to reduce over-bloated civil service at all levels.

• We also call on the Governments to institutionalise sustainable measures to block existing revenue leakages including those deliberately supported for more transparency, accountability and efficient management of resources.

• We demand prompt removal of the needless subsidies on petroleum, to enabling adequate financing for the critical sector, job creation, infrastructural development and poverty eradication in Nigeria.

• We call on governments at all levels to create an enabling environment to boost businesses and attract private sector investments through widen economic integration involving security, removal of tariffs and trade barriers as well as policy and regulation harmonisation in the areas of investment, competition policy, digital trade, quality of infrastructure among others.

• We demand strict compliance to remuneration provisions prescribed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission in all remunerations and entitlements by the governments at all levels to prevent continued diversion of public revenue resources into private pockets.

• We call on State Governments to devise holistic and sustainable measures to curb recurring ghost workers syndrome, which constitutes a major challenge in efficient management of states’ revenue resources and adequate budgetary allocation to the critical sector.

• We demand exhaustive scrutiny of the budget as submitted by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to address issues of inflated budget lines, duplications and unnecessary items.

• We call on the National Assembly to strengthen oversight activities on budgetary implementation as appropriated to prevent or sanction poor implementation, mismanagement and non-existent projects.

• We call on all levels of government to uphold high level integrity in their procurement process through transparency, stakeholder participation, accessibility, e-procurement system and appropriate oversight and control with full implementation of the Procurement Laws, to ensure fairness, non-discrimination and compliance in the public procurement process.

• We call on the Presidency and National Assembly to in spirit of Open Government Partnership, improve fiscal transparency, integrity, transparency and accountability in Defence spending, to block mismanagement and wastage, while enabling adequate budgetary allocation to other sectors.

• We call for full implementation of The Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022; and Money-Laundering-Prevention-and-Prohibition-Act-2022, to strengthen the anti-corruption fight, sanction treasury looters and ensure that repatriated assets are utilized for the benefits of Nigerians.

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