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29.05.2021 news At Rauf Aregbesola Colloquium, el-Rufai Disagrees with Osinbajo over Workers’ Size

Published 29th May, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, disagreed with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Rauf Aregbesola Colloquium 2021 over the size of government and public service in the country.

The online event, which was held on Saturday and monitored by FIJ, was the second edition of an annual conference to commemorate the birthday of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior and former Governor of Osun State.

El-Rufai, a panelist at the event, argued that the Federal Government was maintaining a bloated public service, which had not translated to security and infrastructure.    

“The Federal Government is also maintaining an over-bloated public service which in spite of its size is limited in its ability to sufficiently fund the mandate for security and infrastructure,” he said.

He revealed that almost all of the revenues generated by the Federal Government went into debt servicing and said such situation called for a cut in expenses.   

“Each one of us knows what we do in our private capacities when our incomes reduce or even stay stagnant,” said el-Rufai. “We most likely respond by cutting our expenses while seeking other ways to enhance our incomes. That’s what everyone will do when faced with the situation that Nigeria is facing.”

Reacting to Osinbajo’s position that cutting down government’s expenditure might not translate to economic growth, el-Rufai said, “We must, and here I disagree with His Excellency the Vice President, we must right-size the government at the federal, state and local government levels based on the non-oil tax revenues affordability through the merger of MDAs.

“I do not think you should have a government larger than the taxes you are able to raise in your state or at the federal level.”

The Vice-President, while speaking on the theme of the event, Government and Big Development, had said that social investment programmes targeted at poverty reduction and human capital development were likely to be more effective in a country like Nigeria.

Osinbajo had also added that the Nigerian situation required government to provide means for the unemployed and those unable to work to earn a living.

El-Rufai expressed concerns over the prices of petrol and electricity, which he said were lower than the cost of production. He called for a raise in value added tax (VAT) and condemned low salaries in the public sector.

“No country can perform better than the quality of its public service and we don’t pay our public servants enough,” he said. “We must find a solution to that. The other measure to take is one of enhancing the efficiency of the public sector itself.”

El-Rufai made the headlines recently over plans to sack over 7,000 workers in Kaduna State. On Wednesday, the Kaduna State Government announced the disengagement of 19 political appointees in what it called “on-going rightsizing of the public service”. The state also sacked lots of workers after their participation in labour protests

Published 29th May, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

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