Working for governments at all levels in Nigeria has often placed those workers on the advantaged route to much better economic stations in – and of – life than most other Nigerians, and getting jobs at “federal” level have, for a long time, been akin to winning lotteries.
Here are a few reasons why laying out N40 billion or whatever the cost of this new cuddling of just a few of the over 150 million Nigerian populace is not only uneconomic, unfair but downright wicked:
For far too long, governance costs in Nigeria have continued to soar because of the huge costs of providing for civil servants, especially at the “federal” has continued to escalate: accommodation, transportation are among the top.
We cannot forget the additional heavy costs of governance brought about through the presidential system to cuddle “lawmakers” but that is not relevant to the new expenditure burden the Buhari government is embarking upon. It comes up here only because the high personnel demand of the presidential system that leads to Nigeria having so-called “lawmakers” who are the highest paid among world’s such officials AS WELL AS public sector employees of governments both of whom are known for very low productivity.
It is too recent to recall the monetization program started by the Obasanjo administration, a process that was supposed to shed some of government’s heavy burden of providing accommodation that were often maintained at great cost by government for just a tiny fraction of the population.
It did sound good but what was the outcome? Expensive homes were sold to occupying “lawmakers” at give-away prices, staff housing of different price ranges were sold off at fire-sale prices to “public servants” with those same houses being sold off by many of the “civil” servants or rented out at exorbitant prices thereby fueling the sky-high Abuja and Lagos real estate prices. Some civil servants sold their homes before even having to pay off anything because there were buyers waiting to buy them off, a process that resulted in “federal” employees pocketing millions.
It wasn’t long before government needed to build new houses for new “lawmakers”.
Now, Nigeria has come full circle with the new “federal” allocation of N40 billion for housing in the 2016 budget most of which would probably go towards housing government employees at Abuja if what Oyo-Ita, the Head of the Civil Service is anything to go by.
Ms. Oyo-Ita, who let Nigerians on as to how Abuja workers have a hard life because of accommodation problems vis-a-vis the majority of Nigerians all over the country most of whom are in worse shape must have had her tongue in cheek to save herself chuckling at the following jeremiad lamentation:
I beg, o, na many civil servants live in slums and unapproved places as dem no fit own or rent “decent accommodation in a planned layout … it is pertinent … [that] civil servants own homes as a means to uplift their morale, commitment stewardship and quality during and after service”! [Emphasis and exclamation mark, mine. TOLA.]
What preposterous, specious and selfish argument, Ms. Oyo-Ita to support the status quo, a system that has government workers, quite a few of whom have no desks to call their own through over-staffing and never-retire-top-civil-“servants” even while they are supposedly retired, owning multiple buildings at Abuja, depending on how high, while workers on same level at state level are barely able to afford monthly rentals.
This IS one of the reasons why restructuring must and will happen eventually because the “federal” government gets too much of the country’s resources which will always be shared by the political elites – elected or career “civil servants” as remunerations and/or loots because one arm aids the other in never really allowing a change in the system.
More equitable and sustainable distribution of wealth of the country must exist and here are just a couple:
Expend the allocation for housing by looking towards housing the masses with thousands of units planned for each state: about five thousand houses in each state which would see tradesmen and women as well as many at the lowest rung of the economic ladder also benefit. Each state would build around 250 houses in each local government which would see a local government benefit greatly from the building boom that would result in artisans and others getting paid work to do, food sellers, market women, farmers, et cetera all benefiting. And the actual goal of improving housing condition all over the country would be real.
Of course, the allocation would not be handed over to expert scammers who parade as local government officials these days; the modality for how-to would be worked out at “federal” level.
OR, expending the $120 million-plus on infrastructural development, especially improving roads. Either way, artisans – as above – and others, including market women, contractors big and small would still benefit. Roads improved would aid trade, reduce accidents, et cetera, a much better way of spreading the wealth that belongs to all rather than cuddling “civil servants” who would retire and still own the houses.
A new set of overlords for the Nigerian masses would be employed after those who got houses not at market values retire would have carted homes built “to uplift their morale, commitment stewardship and quality during their service …”; they, too, would need new houses built for them in a never-ending circle.
Those to whom Nigeria never stops going cap-in-hand to beg and borrow NEVER embark on such frivolous and reckless expenditure. This is definitely not one of the ways needed to cut frivolous spending.
When will Nigeria get IT?
TUESDAY, AUGUST 02, 2016. 9:20 p.m. [GMT]
Check out: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/fg-provide-180000-housing-units-civil-servants-buhari/