Nigeria’s wasteful spending had been on the rise over time. There has been a concern among economists over Nigeria’s thirst for borrowing money and wasting it on frivolities. This fondness for debts grew over the years with no tangible accomplishments to show for it.
At present, the Nation’s debt stock increased to #44.06 trillion in the third quarter of last year from #39.56 trillion at the end of 2021. Aside from the new borrowing proposed for 2023, 7 trillion loans were issued from The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the federal government according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
However, there are certain measures a newly-elect president can take to curb wasteful spending in the country.
Strengthening Fiscal Rules
For any nation to make meaningful progress, there ought to be a competent and strengthened fiscal management system. Strengthening fiscal rules means taking steps to improve the effectiveness and credibility of rules that govern government spending, taxation, and borrowing.
To strengthen fiscal rules, there must be measures such as enriching fiscal rules in law or the constitution, enhancing their enforcement mechanisms, increasing transparency and accountability, and strengthening institutions responsible for monitoring compliance with fiscal rules.
For instance, a limit on the amount of accumulated public debt can be established by the government, establish a balanced budget requirement, or mandate that a certain percentage of government revenue is allocated to reducing the budget deficit.
Enforcing these rules would help the government promote fiscal policy and reduce financial crises.
Political offices should be made less attractive
Most offices in the government have been designed to become an attractive and lucrative career choice. This has pushed a lot of individuals into pursuing political power for personal gains rather than for public good.
This inturn results in wasteful spending on projects and programs that benefit politicians rather than the general public. This is not to inadequately compensate them but to reduce the perks and privileges that come with them.
It could be limiting salaries and benefits for elected officials, reducing the size and scope of staff and offices, and cutting down on unnecessary travel and expenses. It could also be imposing stricter term limits or restrictions on the ability of politicians to hold multiple positions or receive benefits after they leave office.
Enforcing the Monetisation Policy of Government
One effective way to reduce wasteful spending is enforcing a strong monetization policy of the government. Monetization policies are a set of rules and regulations that guide the use of government resources, including vehicles, housing, and other assets.
Enforcing this policy would prevent misuse of government resources for personal gain with penalties for non-compliance. This can include fines, disciplinary action, and even criminal prosecution for serious violations.
The policy should also be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it remains effective and relevant to changing circumstances.
Ending slippery, wasteful national budgets
This can be an effective way to reduce wasteful spending by the new-elect president. A slippery budget is one that is prone to unplanned changes, due to political pressure. This can lead to wasteful spending on projects and programs that do not provide benefits to the public.
The president must ensure to set clear priorities and goals for spending, establishing rigorous oversight and monitoring mechanisms, and involving stakeholders in the budgeting process. They can also establish strict penalties for officials who violate budget rules or engage in corrupt practices.
Ministries, Departments and Agencies performing similar functions should be merged
One strategy to cut down wasteful spending that the newly-elected president can look out for is multiple agencies, ministries, departments, performing the same functions.
Agencies performing the same functions would only lead to duplication of effort, resources, leading to waste and inefficiencies. Merging these agencies can eliminate such redundancies and streamline operations, resulting in cost savings and more efficient service delivery.
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