Cutting the cost of governance entails strategic cost reduction in government spending which in turn saves up resources and channels them where they can generate the best results. Simply put, it means doing better for less.
In 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised the Federal Government to reduce the high cost of governance and end what it described as the “financial recklessness of those in political office.” Sadly, four years after, that advice is still relevant.
It is contradictory that while the cost of governance is becoming expensive, many Nigerians are groaning under the weight of extreme poverty. The nation is grappling with dilapidated infrastructure, rising debt profile and the increasing amount for debt servicing.
The high cost of governance can be reduced by merging and rationalizing government agencies with similar functions and adhering strictly to approved remuneration of political office-holders.
Also, there should be a restriction on foreign trips by government officials especially in cases where public funds are being used. Estacodes and allowances should be slashed and any minister who is to head a delegation must go with a minimum number of delegation.
Although, proposing cuts in government spending will provoke strong objections from those that benefit from such frivolous “flexing” on taxpayers’ money (it is no news that the people in power use some of these funds to benefit their friends and supporters), yet, the difficulties caused by these cuts should be measured against the status quo option of doubling the national debt over the next decade, risking an economic crisis, and drowning future generations in taxes.
Governing involves difficult choices, and government officials simply cannot continue to court long-term disaster for all merely to avoid short-term difficulties for some.
The time for a drastic cut in the cost of governance is now because the economy can no longer support the jumbo salaries and allowances enjoyed by government officials. The nation’s dwindling oil revenue can hardly carry our heavy financial burden.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for fiscal prudence. A downward review of the remuneration and allowances of political office-holders to reflect the present economic realities of the country will go a long way in making more funds available for developmental projects.
It is time to show exemplary leadership. Undergoing certain inconveniences in other to achieve a goal is a mark of great leadership. The question is, are our leaders willing to take the cut or will this become another case swept under the carpet? Only time will tell.