FG reduces agencies’ board meetings to four, to save N1bn annually.

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Buhari
Buhari

In furtherance of its drive to cut cost and free money for development of infrastructure, the Federal Government has reduced board meetings of ministries, departments and agencies to four in a year.

This measures which is part of the recommendation of the Efficiency Unit will save N1 billion annually affects part-time Chairmen and members Committees, Boards of Statutory Corporations and Government-owned companies.

Prior to this, government agencies hold board meetings eight times in a year and which gulped N12.8 billion from the treasury between 2012 and 2014. In pre 2010, the number of board meetings was four per year.

In a statement by the Director, Information, Finance Ministry, Salisu Nkaina Dambatta,  the reduction in the number of meetings by such bodies followed a review by the Efficiency Unit and the discovery that the average annual expenditure on honorarium and sitting allowances between 2012 and 2014 was N12.8 billion.

The Unit found that by 2010 part-time Chairmen of government Committees and Boards were paid sitting allowances ranging from N40, 000 to  N150,000 per sitting, while Members received payments ranging from  N30, 000 to N120, 000 per sitting. The number of sittings was also increased from four to eight per annum.

“While the new allowances per sitting of N40, 000 to N150, 000 and N30, 000 to N120, 000 for Chairmen and Members respectively appear reasonable, the increase in number of meetings from four to eight was rather too high and doubled the cost of sittingallowances for the government.”

“A maximum of four meetings was considered adequate for Boards, while other interactions can be conducted using Information Communication Technology (ICT),which is cheaper and already tested in Nigeria,” the Efficiency Unit explained.

 Upon accepting the recommendation of the Efficiency Unit to reduce the frequency of meetings by committees and Boards of parastatals and agencies, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation recently issued a circular directing the implementation of the reduction of meetings to four per annum, thus bringing standard, transparency and cost cutting in the payment of sitting allowances.

The Efficiency Unit says it will continue with its on-going efforts and collaboration with the relevant government offices in line with the resolve of the Minister of Finance to remain committed to her cost-cutting initiative, which is one of the tools for achieving fiscal prudence and releasing of funds for capital projects that will support economic growth and improve the living standard of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that the Finance Ministry early April issued circular to MDAs about the measures to reform public expenditure which restrict its  Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Federal Government Committees, as well as Chairmen and Chief Executives of Parastatals and Agencies to flying business class.
In the past, some government officials who should have been on Business Class usually travelled First Class, while many others travelled Business Class instead of Economy.
The second recommendation bordered on the need to reduce the frequency of travels by ensuring that Board and Committee events such as meetings, workshops and conferences in Nigeria are held in locations where the institutions or persons participating in the event are domiciled.  Furthermore, such events should for the most part be held in Nigeria but where this is not possible, the prior approval of the Secretary to the Federal Government should be secured.
This, It is estimated will cut travel expenditure by about 20% representing a reduction of N13.38 billion N69.417 billion incurred on travels in 2014

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