Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, has launched an Efficiency Unit. Here’s why

During a press conference that took place yesterday, newly appointed finance minister, Kemi Adeosun said that the ministry has launched an efficiency unit which is modeled after the United Kingdom’s efficiency unit. The unit will oversee spending excesses in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). It will also impose guidelines in an effort to cut the vast amount of waste in government spending. Notably, the members of this unit will work for free, with no expected salaries and allowances for their work.

Some members of the efficiency unit include Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, chartered accountant, Patience Oniha, Auditor General of the federation, Accountant General of the Federation, Head of Service of the federation, Director of Budget Office of the Federation and former ICAN president, Kabir Mohammed.

Since she has been sworn in as Finance Minister, critics have claimed Mrs. Adeosun does not have the experience or pedigree to make any significant change in the country’s finance sector in comparison to her predecessor, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. However, Adeosun is bringing what she learnt from her time in the United Kingdom’s private financial sector into play in Nigeria’s finance ministry, by instituting an efficiency unit.

According to financial analyst, Francis Iyoha, from the 2010 national budget of N4.6 trillion, only N1.8trillion was earmarked for capital expenditure. Also, in 2013, out of a total national budget of N4.92trillion, only the sum of N1.50trllion, was voted for capital expenditure. This shows an imbalance in government expenditure. The table below shows the expenditure profile of the Nigerian Government between 1999 and 2012.

Francis O. Iyoha et al
Cost of Governance in Nigeria: In Whose Interest? By Francis O. Iyoha et al

Yesterday, Mrs. Adeosun emphasized that the government needs to cut costs. An urgent need for infrastructural development may be one of the reasons why the government is keen on this move. However, for several months, Buhari has suggested that he intends to cut spending by limiting operational costs within the government. For example, in August, Director General, Elias Mbam of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said that senators and members of the House of Representatives would earn less than N1 million by the end of September.

Through the efficiency unit, it is expected that operational costs of government will be slashed to 50 percent. According to Dr. Catherine Haddon, the “United Kingdom’s Efficiency Unit was established in 1979 election by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to look for ways of saving money in departments, but developed a pattern of work that would also seek to tackle skills and culture, with some hope of thereby reforming the system itself.”

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