- Category: Business and Economy
- Published on Friday, 09 December 2011 01:01
- Written by Admin
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THE Federal Government is planning to spend N1.7trillion on workers’ wage bill in the 2012 budget as close to 7,000 projects are abandoned nationwide.
Dr Okogu, disclosing that the ever-increasing wage bill was a source of concern to the government, stated that in the 2009 budget, the total wage bill was about N870 billion but had now increased to N1.7trillion in the 2012 budget.
He said the government was doing a lot of things to reduce the bloated wage bill by organising a biometric registration of workers, an exercise he said was aimed at detecting ghost workers.
Apart from this, the DG said plans were underway to merge parastatal agencies performing similar functions with a view to reducing the wage bill.
Expressing disgust at the preponderance of abandoned projects in the country, Dr Okogu said about 7,000 projects were now scattered around the nooks and crannies of the country uncompleted.
Disclosing that this happened because contracts were being awarded indiscriminately for pecuniary gains, the DG said that in the 2012 budget, emphasis would be placed on the completion of abandoned projects while new projects that were germane to the growth of the economy would be executed.
On the ongoing debate on fuel subsidy removal and deregulation in the downstream oil sector, the Dr Okogu stated that all those who expressed the belief that government was not subsidising fuel import were misleading the public.
According to him, while petrol is being sold at N65 per litre, the landing cost of fuel is N120 per litre, just as another N15 is spent on other costs thus totalling N135 per litre.
Making a case for subsidy withdrawal, he said most ordinary Nigerians did not have cars except those in the middle class, who used as many as five cars.
The DG, who affirmed that the ordinary people might have to pay more on transportation when subsidy was removed, stated that the proportion of subsidy going to the poor was quite small.
Dr Okogu said it was better to start from somewhere and thus save the nation some money that was being lost through fuel subsidy.
Earlier, the acting Executive Director of CSEA, Dr Ebere Uneze, said the timing of the seminar could not be more appropriate than now giving the prevailing policy issues in the country.
He said the need to return the country to the path of sustainable economic growth and development informed the series of structural and institutional reforms undertaken by the Federal Government since 1999, when the country returned to the democratic rule.
Dr Uneze said the theme of the seminar, “Sustaining growth through inclusive social policy and economy reforms,” was meant to stimulate discussions on how the economy could become more productive as the government pursued its transformation agenda.
Specifically, he said the seminar would inspire deliberations on how the government could manage the reform process while also putting in place measures that would protect the poor and the vulnerable.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan will, on Tuesday, present the 2012 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.