The Central Bank Governor stuck to his position on civil service retrenchment at a debate at the 18th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.
The Governor said the vast number of government appointees in the country makes it difficult for the average Nigerian man to over prosper. He said for the situation to change and poverty to be reduced in the country that a situation where the government is spending 70% of its revenue on itself and 30% of its revenue on the people would need to change.
“We cannot develop if government is spending 70 per cent of the nation’s revenue on itself and spending 30 per cent on the people. Is that a sensible situation?” Sanusi queried.
The CBN governor said, “People say everything is about politics and let us go to the politics of it. For those of you who were in Warri, this is a country where we have 774 local government councils. In each council you have a chairman and a vice-chairman and maybe 10 councillors and some other aides.
“Take a state like Kano which used to be one state. But now it is Kano and Jigawa. When it was one state where you had one governor and maybe nine or 10 commissioners, I went to King’s College and Ahmadu Bello University on Kano State government scholarship. My parents didn’t pay, I was in King’s College and the state government even paid for my rail ticket from Lagos to Kano and back and I wasn’t the only one.
“Now what do you have? That one state has become two states, two governors, two deputy governors, 40 commissioners, maybe 80 legislators and only God knows how many special advisers and assistants they have.
“This is not about NLC or Trade Union Congress or the President or the National Assembly, but it is about us as a country deciding whether this constitution that we have chosen makes sense.”
Other participants at the debate included SEC DG, Aruma Oteh; PENCOM DG, Muhammad Ahmad; and Financial Derivatives CEO, Bismarck Rewane.
Sanusi continued, “The constitution says that there must be a minister from every state of the federation. Let me ask you, as intelligent and as educated human beings, what is the connection between the number of states and the number of ministries at the federal level.
“We are talking about federal character, so if you have 50 states today, must we have 50 ministries, if we have a 100 states must we have 100 ministries?
“I want to understand so if we create a state for the South-East since they say they want one more state, and then you must have one more minister and create a ministry even if we don’t need it. So because you have created one more state, the Federal Government must have a minister from that state.”
He said the current system made it difficult for Nigerian leaders to leave a legacy.
Sanusi said, “Let us be realistic, between 1999 and now how many ministers have we had? You have 42, you do cabinet reshuffle and bring in another 42 and I am sure between 1999 and now we have had more than 200 ministers and how many of them can we really remember.
“Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous this is, if I ask you to name between 1999 and now the Nigerians who have been ministers how many can you remember? Why? Because they are so many and their jobs are so poorly defined and you cannot remember what they did because the only way to remember a man is based on what he did.”