The Vice President’s Statement on “Large and Expensive Government” in Nigeria

The Vice President’s Statement on “Large and Expensive Government” in Nigeria

“We are by this notice telling all those importing contraband products to stop doing so. We know where you are. And if you do not stop this nefarious activity, we will come after you in two weeks”. You might have seen this type of notice in a newspaper, sponsored by a government agency in Nigeria. Whenever I see such, I chuckle that a Director General who has the power to take immediate action is wasting taxpayers money on newspaper advertisements, creating an illusion of doing his/her work.

That takes me  to Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s statement that Nigeria is running a large and expensive government. The question has been “who can fix it?” We know the problem – and we are looking for solutions. Like I keep saying, if President Buhari was never elected a president, he would have been the best president ever in the Nigerian history! Yes, many of us would have said, had he been given the opportunity, he would have fixed this and that. But here we are, talking over the problems instead of  fixing them. Mr. Vice President, your party controls the House, the Senate and the Presidency, you can fix the “large and expensive government” problem.

“There is no question that we are dealing with large and expensive government, but as you know, given the current constitutional structure, those who would have to vote to reduce (the size of) government, especially to become part-time legislators, are the very legislators themselves,” Mr Osinbajo was quoted to have said.

“So, you can imagine that we may not get very much traction if they are asked to vote themselves, as it were, out of their current relatively decent circumstances.

“So, I think there is a need for a national debate on this question and there is a need for us to ensure that we are not wasting the kind of resources that we ought to use for development on overheads. At the moment, our overheads are almost 70 per cent of revenues, so there is no question at all that we must reduce the size of government.”

According to him, “the problem was a major driving factor for the government’s decision to revisit the Steve Oronsaye report on public service reforms”.

He said: “Part of what you would see in the Economic Sustainability Plan also and several of the other initiatives is trying to go, to some extent, to what was recommended in the (Steve) Oransaye Report, to collapse a few of the agencies to become a bit more efficient and make government much more efficient with whatever it has.”

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3 thoughts on “The Vice President’s Statement on “Large and Expensive Government” in Nigeria

  1. Osibanjo is a law professor, if he hadn’t finished school, he would have been forgiven for wailing like this; but he’s the Vice President…

    At every turn, the people we hired (or they hired themselves) to do a job have been telling us that they are incompetent and clueless, yet we keep urging them on. They have shouted, screamed and cried that they are confused, yet we keep telling them it’s not true, that we know and believe in them, that they can do it! What other evidence does one need? Apparently we need to call truck pushers and pepper sellers to come help them reduce cost of governance.

    I have known for years that the most sophisticated criminal enterprise anywhere in the world is government, it’s the only institution that can cheat and rob you, and still order you to keep quiet.

    We had National Conference in 2014, APC guys declined, now they can’t reduce cost of government via legislation, and they are equally embarrassed to suggest another conference; it’s a quandary for them, they know it.

    You are not making enough money, yet you don’t know how to cut spending, but you are the government; what a world!

    Well, we can help them, let them just ask us to take up the task, most of them will be dusting their CVs soon.

    Reply
  2. Dear Mr Ndubuisi and Mr Francis, unless you want us to believe that you are sympathetic to the cause of the opposition, you need to answer the following pertinent questions arising from your commentary:
    1) Do you not agree with his assertion that the solution lies with the legislature?
    2) If you agree, then do you not see the illogicallity of expecting them to as the VP has said, literally “vote for their own sack”?
    3) By virtue of the constitutional “separation of powers” is the executive therefore not handicapped if it wanted to force the issue?
    4) Therefire, isn’t it more democratic and wise that the VP has chosen the path of persuasion via starting a public debate?
    5) I would have expected that you would take the opportunity provided by his statement to take the battle to the house by amplifying the call for action in the legislature to pass a bill reducing the size of government. Why have you not done this
    6)If the answer to no.1 is that you disagree that it is the legislature’s responsibility then why have you not told us what you expect the presidency to do do (or have done) about it?

    I hope you catch my drift that we intellectually gifted Nigerians need to shift from being perpetual critics of government (thereby lending our services to an equally incompetent opposition) to becoming allies of any government in power, by instead, offering solutions to our myriad problems as a nation.
    It’s called patriotism.

    Reply
      1. I do not believe him because it is his job and the president to work with the Legislature. Your thinking is that a President and VP cannot do anything and just wait. That is a dangerous point. They need to fix it because the National Assembly is under their party and both are the leaders of the party.
      2. Not applicable since I did not agree with you.

      3. There are many things which the President and VP can scrap tomorrow morning with executive orders that do not need any legislature. And if he thinks he needs the legislature, it is part of the job to engage them to fix things. No excuses.

      4. After 5 years and he is still talking. When do we see results?

      5. I have other ways to serve Nigeria and I am doing so. He picked the job and I want him to do it. Any day I pick that job, you can judge me. But today, that is not my job. You cannot complain that Nigeria is a mess and for 5 years, you have done nothing on it. I hold them to account because they chose to do that job.

      6. It is not my job. They have to figure it out. I do not work for government and have no obligations to do research for them. I am happy he knows there is a problem, it is their job to fix same.

      We are not criticizing government by telling politicians to get to work instead of talking. How can people with power be complaining? An executive order tomorrow can close 10 stupid unproductive agencies and save Nigeria money.Steve Oronsaye has produced a document and they are afraid of implementing that report. Yet, daily, they come and complain of size of government. You asking me what we have to do is feigning ignorance that you are not aware f Steve’s Report. People are asking President and VP to be bold and take action and stop talking over this. The report is there my friend, implement it.

      Reply

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