Former senior special assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Doyin Okupe, has urged all state governments to immediately start the process of downsizing their workforce with reasonable cushions for those who will be affected instead of consistently running to the federal government for bailout.
In a statement made available yesterday, Okupe said: ‘’In recent times, state governors in Nigeria have unanimously approached President Muhammadu Buhari for financial assistance for them to meet up with their obligations especially the payment of workers’ salaries. They came severally with caps in hand and have received assistance sought on about two occasions.’’
Okupe said that a basic economic dictum says “if expenditure cannot be controlled, then internal demands must be curtailed.”
He noted that it was some state governors that forced the hand of the former President Jonathan to share and more or less deplete the savings in the Excess Crude Account.
Okupe said that it is becoming clearer and more certain daily that unless a miracle happen many states will be unable to meet up with their financial obligations and may actually face imminent bankruptcy if the economic situation in the country worsens.
“Virtually all state governments in the country have over bloated civil service. At some point between 2008 and 2009, Ogun state received N2b monthly from the federation account and paid out N1.8b as staff salaries, wages and overhead costs!!!! The total staff strength was about 50,000 while the population of the state was about 5,000,000.
‘’An obvious socio economic absurdity and incongruity therefore existed where 10 per cent of the population was consuming 90 per cent of the wealth of the state. We do not need a soothsayer or an economic guru to foretell that this is unsustainable. In many States the percentage of the resources of the state that is consumed by the civil service ranges between 70 per cent to 80 per cent by not more than 10 per cent of its population.’’
‘’From time immemorial the economies of nations all over the world do go into recessions and more often not necessarily as a result of incompetence or lack of managerial capabilities of the administration that is in situ.
He stated that what is different in the country’s situation, especially as it concerns the state governments is that the federal government appears to be dealing with the situation from the point of compassion.
‘’Economic situations are better approached from point of strategic policy options and fiscal management techniques rather than a ‘father Xmas’ disposition,’’ he added.