The governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is under fire to resign his position for calling for the sack of 50 percent of civil servants within the federal government employ.
Saturday Vanguard’s JOHN BULUS in this special report takes a look at the debilitating situation
Again, he is stuck into another web of controversy. Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, will never stop talking. Even though he is expected by some quarters as an Accountant or Economist to conform to the traditional style of maintaining quietude while he goes about his job, he has rather, seemingly seen reasons not to restrict himself within the immediate corridors of his professional practice.
On the contrary, his guts and convictions have continued to compel him to always harp on issues that bother on politics and the economy after all, he superintends over a vital social institution that plays a major role in the monetary and financial regulations. But he would not go about it subtly.
He would rather pull strings from all spheres, almost always drawing the ire of one segment of the society or another. Presently, he has stirred up another round of controversy that is beginning to cast aspersion on his exalted office. Consequently, this has necessitated a chronology of his actions and inactions since he assumed office as the CBN governor. Here they are:
The controversy before:
Recall his N100 million donation to the victims of Boko Haram bomb tragedy in Kano early this year. The donation drew a consternation of rash condemnations. Many questioned the powers of a CBN governor to unilaterally handout such a whooping sum and wondered when CBN became either a money making venture or personal investment. Also, on another plank, many also alleged ethnic biases on the gesture by the CBN governor, saying that such largesse was prompted by his sectarian inclinations.
The argument was that there was a plethora of others victims from across other sites of similar tragedy who hadn’t got help from the CBN governor.
That was the stand of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Mr. Ralph Ndigwe, demanded explanation from Sanusi on why CBN had not extended similar gestures to hundreds of Igbo who were victims of violent attacks by Boko Haram in the north and so, threatened that Ohanaeze would champion his removal as CBN governor if he fails to explain the rationale behind the donation to Kano victims only.
According to him, as someone who occupies the seat of a Governor of the Nation’s apex bank, Sanusi’s interest should go beyond being parochial.
He said: “We want Sanusi to tell us what CBN has done for hundreds of Igbo who were victims of Boko Haram violent attacks in various parts of the north. If Sanusi fails to give us explanation for CBN’s selective donation of N100 million to victims of Kano attack, we will not hesitate to push for his removal from office as CBN governor”.
Hardly had the dust generated by the controversial donation settled down than another rumpus broke out. Yet again, Sanusi in September this year startled Nigerians when he mouthed it to the mountain tops that the Central Bank had concluded plans to introduce a novel 5000 bank note and convert the existing lower denominations of N5, 10, and N20 notes to coins.
The reactions that trailed the development were legions. It was such that apart form the a few individuals who inclined to the Presidency on the matter, the rest of Nigerian populace indeed poised for a showdown with both Sanusi and the Federal Government had CBN chosen to go defiant to the people’s yearnings.
The CBN governor appears unperturbed by any apparent criticisms. In fact, he is becoming more audacious and loquacious. In a world of stark unemployment and ubiquitous poverty, Alhaji Sanusi, like a gad fly, early this week, precisely on Tuesday November 27, 2012 provoked another controversial thought. He called for the sack of 50 percent of Federal workers in the civil service system. He had attended the Second Annual Capital Market Committee Retreat in Warri, Delta State where he made a presentation. Defiling every reasonable argument, Sanusi went crackers, saying that the nation’s infrastructural woes would be subdued only when 50 percent of the civil service workforce
Along side the unsolicited suggestion, the apex bank governor also lamented the over-bloated National Assembly, submitting that the Nation has no business paying the salaries and allowances of 109 Senators and 360 members of House of Representatives who populate the Upper and Lower Chambers of the National Assembly. In his opinion, the members live in opulence and affluence to the detriment of infrastructural development the country yearns for.
Similarly, the CBN governor had in a lecture last year claimed that 25 per cent of the overheads of the Federal Government budget went to the National Assembly.
He said: “Twenty five per cent of the overhead of the Federal Government budget goes to National Assembly. I have figures from the office of budget for the year 2010. Total government overhead is N536, 268,49, 280. Total overhead of the National Assembly is N136, 259,768, 112 which is exactly 25.1 per cent of Federal Government overhead.
The overhead of the National Assembly as a percentage of the Federal Government budget in 2009 was 19. 87 and in 2008 was 14.19”.
Hear his Warri lecture: “At the moment 70 per cent of Federal Government’s revenue goes for payment of salaries and entitlement of civil servants, leaving 30 per cent for development of 167 million
Nigerians. That means that for every naira government earns, 70 kobo is consumed by civil servants. You have to fire half of the civil service because the revenue of the government is supposed to be for 167 million Nigerians. Any society where government spends 70 per cent of its revenue on its civil service has a problem. It is unsustainable.
The various tiers of government should cut down their
recurrent expenditure and use the fund to provide basic infrastructure like schools, hospital, etc.
“How can we be using the proceeds from our major source of revenue to service recurrent expenditure, by paying salaries, allowances, etc.
The country should be thinking of enhancing its productivity base
rather than spending on things that cannot create wealth.”
Sanusi also would bat an eyelid as he went down to the grass-root, querying why the there should be 774 local government areas which also draw milk from the body of the federal government to maintain their Chairmen and Councilors
He said: “Do we need 774 LGAs? Do we need 36 states some of which are not viable? Why not just remove them and have only state governments?,” he asked rhetorically
A galaxy of reactions:
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State who was present at the occasion was the first to react to Sanusi.
Much as he agreed that there is need to crash the expenditure rate, he did not however subscribe to Sanusi’s hypothesis of sacking workers without alternatives. Uduaghan: “If we must do that, then we should provide alternatives where the sacked workers can become economically viable.
The reason why we are asking the Federal Government to provide basic
infrastructure and enabling environment for private investors to invest is because they can employ workers who will be disengaged from public sector. Therefore, I don’t agree with the CBN governor that we should sack our workers to reduce the recurrent expenditure in our budget without providing alternatives.”
Congress and Trade Union Congress react:
“It is obvious Sanusi was never qualified for the office of the CBN governor in the first instance, and he must be asked to leave the office as he has shown more than enough incompetence and contempt for the Nigerian people.“Sanusi’s only understanding of governance is simply about saving money and not saving lives as his proposals are repeatedly devoid of human content and without consideration for the implications on larger society.
“The burden that will come with mass sack as high as 50 per cent of civil servants, in addition to the already saturated unemployment market can better be imagined. Governance is about improving the quality of the lives of the people and not destruction of productive lives.
“Today, there are countless probe reports with names of those who swindled our country of several trillions of both naira and foreign currencies still living in Nigeria either walking freely around the
corridors of power or directly holding public or political offices rather than being in jail.
“The truth, which Sanusi is running away from, is that corruption has become a real burden on the economy and it should be the only priority item on the table of any serious government. Even if you sack all the workers in Nigeria, any amount saved from that will be stolen and the culprit will walk in freedom.
“To show how unknowledgeable he is as a public office holder, Sanusi also called for the scrapping of local governments in Nigeria, a country that runs a federal system, no matter how inefficient the system is.
“Local government is an important tier of government in a federal system and what we need is to strengthen the system to enable it to deliver good governance to the people as it is the closest to the grass roots and rather than removing the tier as proposed by Mallam Sanusi, the local governments require more funding to enable them to function properly as required under a federal system,” a statement credited to the NLC President, Comrade Abduwaheed Omar in Abuja on Wednesday said.