Sunday 22 May 2016

FG to Cut Meal Allowances of Officials by 65%

President   Muhammadu Buhari has boldly moved to reduce the wastage of governmental resources by cutting the meal allowances of government officials. 

President Muhammadu Buhari
Barring last minute change in plans, the Federal Government plans a 65 per cent reduction in the allowances for refreshment and meals of top officials of government, an investigation has shown according to Punch.

The move is part of strategies aimed at reducing the recurrent expenditure as well as curb wastages in the management of government resources.

It was learnt on Friday that the proposal for the reduction in meal allowances had been prepared by the Efficiency Unit in the Ministry of Finance and forwarded to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for ratification.

The Efficiency Unit was set up by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, last year to reduce the recurrent expenditure, which has an outlay of N2.65tn in the 2016 budget.

The unit, headed by Mrs. Patience Oniha, was set up to engender transparency and reduce government’s large expenditure through efficiency in procurement in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.

According to sources familiar with the workings of the unit, a reduction of about N8,500 per meal is being considered by the unit from the current N13,000 to about N4,500.

It was gathered that apart from the reduction in meal allowances, other recurrent expenditure items such as honorarium and sitting allowance as well as advertising and publicity would be drastically reduced.

A source who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “You will recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had, as part of measures to cut cost of governance, approved that the Minister of Finance should set up an efficiency unit.

“That unit has in the last few months been working hard to cut the recurrent expenditure. One of the recent recommendations made by the unit is on the need to reduce allowances for meal and refreshment.

“Before now, about N13,000 per meal was being spent on each top official of government whenever they have official meetings and others engagements. But now, there are plans to reduce this to about N4,500 by the template being developed for that purpose.”

While the details of the percentage of reduction in honorarium and sitting allowances as well as advertising and publicity could not be ascertained, it was learnt that the template for the reduction in meal and refreshment allowances was already being worked on by the unit.

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