President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to review civil servant salaries as well as the number of federal agencies.

Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, made the announcement on Tuesday at the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission’s National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and the Cost of Governance in Nigeria (ICPC).

She also stated that the government intends to eliminate some superfluous items from the budget in order to reduce the cost of governance in the country.

“We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue,” Ahmed said.

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She urged all government agencies to come together to trim the cost amid the country’s dwindling revenue.

The minister said that the nation’s budgets are filled every year with projects that are recycled over and over again and are also not necessary.

“Mr President has directed that the salaries committee that I chair, work together with the Head of Service and other members of the committee to review the government payrolls in terms of stepping down on cost,” she said.

The minister said that government will also review the number of government agencies in terms of their mandates, adding that the government will consider merging two agencies with the same mandate.

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The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), described the cost of governance as the driver of corruption in Nigeria.

He said the government is committed to improving the country’s revenue from new and existing sources by streamlining payroll and ensuring that removal of subsidies and reduction of the cost of contracts and procurement are for the benefits of the vulnerable.

He listed the critical area of concern to include payroll padding and the phenomenon of ghost workers.

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