GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has asked the Federal Government to downsize the labour force
GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has asked the Federal Government to downsize the labour force if it must achieve anything meaningful as far as economic resuscitation is concerned in the country.
Sanusi, who also insisted on total fuel subsidy removal, took a swipe at the Nigerian political system, asking for an inexpensive government system that will bring down overhead cost and liberate capital for infrastructural development.
These calls were made during his presentation at the second Annual Capital Market Committee retreat that was held on Tuesday, in Warri, Delta State. To Sanusi, it is illogical for a country to have its economy developed when it spends 70 per cent of its revenue in servicing salaries and gratuities of workers.
“At the moment, 70 per cent of Federal Government’s revenue goes for payment of salaries and entitlement of civil servants, leaving 30 per cent for development of 167 million Nigerians. That means that for every naira government earns, 70 kobo is consumed by civil servants,” Sanusi contended.
The solution, according to Sanusi is that: “You have to fire half of the civil service because the revenue government has is supposed to be for 167 million Nigerians. Any society where government spends 70 per cent of its revenue on its civil service has a problem. It is unsustainable,” he argued.
Undone, Mallam Sanusi also took the political system of the country to the cleaners. He wondered what manner of country would elect over 100 senators and about 400 House of Representatives members in the name of lawmaking.
He said a cursory mathematical summation of the expenses of the executive arm of government, the lawmakers and the civil servants would reveal the fact that these three arms of government are the ones taking the lion’s share of the nation’s revenue.
“There are state governors whose monthly allocation is barely enough to pay salaries. I hear such governors complain and I say ‘why complain when the solution is simple?’ It is irresponsible to use all money to pay salaries and wait for another month’s allocation and pay salaries and after four years you would have done nothing,” Sanusi contended.
As regards total removal of fuel subsidy, the governor suggested that the Federal Government should make fuel subsidy thieves to face the music, stating that “People have the right to demand transparency. If you want to remove subsidy, you have to show what happened to those who stole.”
The CBN boss also challenged the Federal Government to halt investments on infrastructure and rather allow the private sector to handle them so that the Federal Government can concentrate on building social amenities like schools, health centres among others.
Sanusi described the servicing of the 774 local government chairmen, their aides, councillors, among others as a waste of public funds. “Do we need 774 local governments? Do we need 36 states, some of which are unviable? Why not just remove them and have only state governments?” he querried rhetorically.
In a sharp response to the CBN governor’s proposal to the Federal Government, governor of Delta State and host of the event, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, deferred from Sanusi’s call for mass retrenchment, arguing that the country is already battling with the menace of unemployment.
Uduaghan, during his keynote address, pointed out that the capital market is a means of fund procurement for carrying out capital projects for the economic uplift of the people, adding that the country had sunk into over-reliance on borrowing to finance projects, since the post civil war era.
He observed that “Not that borrowing in itself is necessarily bad, but the management and deployment of such funds is crucial. In fact, I dare say that with the state of affairs today and the paucity of funds, government can hardly do without borrowing. What is at issue is what government and public funds managers do with the funds at their disposal for the good of all.”
Nigeria Capital Market Needs Investment to Grow, Sanusi Says
Nigeria’s government must spend less on itself and invest more in the economy if it wants to attract long-term investment in the capital market, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi said.
“You cannot have in the long term a capital market or even a banking system that grows and thrives on a sustainable basis until you build the real economy on which they thrive,” he said at a conference today in the southeastern city of Warri. “Otherwise, all the money that you raise in the system remains in the financial system and you just create bubbles.”
Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reversed the government’s expansionary stance after she took office in August last year. The state must continue to cut recurrent spending, which includes wages, and invest more to fix power supplies, build roads and other infrastructure to allow the private industry to grow, Sanusi said.
President Goodluck Jonathan pledged on Oct. 10 to reduce recurrent spending to 69 percent of the total budget of 4.92 trillion naira ($31 billion) in 2013, from 72 percent this year.
“Any society where the government spends 70 percent of its money on its employees so that they can use the 30 percent for the rest of the country, has a problem,” Sanusi said. “It’s unsustainable.”
While agriculture is the biggest contributor to the gross domestic product, only three agricultural companies are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Sanusi said.
“The reason they’re not there is because the policies, until recently, haven’t been policies that aim at building agriculture,” he said.
The Monetary Policy Committee, led by Sanusi, has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record 12 percent this year to help support the naira and curb inflation. Consumer prices rose 11.7 percent in October, staying above the central bank’s goal of less than 10 percent.
The bank boosted borrowing costs to bolster the naira and “anchor” price expectations, Sanusi said. Lower interest rates won’t necessarily spur investment by businesses, he said.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “The issue is: do you want to reverse policy at the first sign of success? Or do you want to wait and have sustainability?”
The bank won’t abandon its mandate of price stability in the pursuit of faster economic growth, Sanusi said.
“The central bank is responsible for stability,” he said. “If we abandon that function because we’re pursuing somebody else’s job, we will lose it.