How Tinubu can really cut down govt costs, by ex-presidential aide Laolu Akande

L-R: Laolu Akande and President Bola Tinubu. FILE PHOTOS

The Federal authorities have been charged to be more proactive and do necessary follow-up on its attempts to cut costs, and not just stop at making statements that may become ineffective, but should diligently pursue its plans across different government layers to make an impact.

Laolu Akande, a veteran journalist and former presidential aide gave the charge featuring on the Channels TV’s news documentary programme, Sunrise Daily, on Thursday, January 11, 2024.

Akande who lauded President Bola Tinubu for starting well, commending his plan to cut his travel costs by 60 per cent, said if this is diligently implemented by him and the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal government, it would earn the Tinubu administration some trust from the Nigerian people.

As he said, “I think one of the things that everybody seems to agree on is that we need to cut the cost of governance which has been on for quite some time. It is a good start, but it is just the very beginning of it.

“First of all, the announcement on the travel cut. It is what it is, an announcement. It will have to require a diligent pursuit for it to have any impact at all. I can tell you that If care is not taken the announcement can end there easily.”

Akande, an in-house analyst for the award-winning news station contended that there has to be a budget implication on spending, saying, “To say that look this is the amount of money that will be made available. that is how you can measure indeed whether you are making any cut.”

While lauding President Bola Tinubu, who he said “started well” on his decision to cut costs, Akande, however, said, “People can play games around this thing easily” if it is not tied around financial implications.

“The President has started well to say that I am cutting 60 per cent of travel cost,” Akande said, noting that, “If you don’t tie it to a financial implication then you cannot indeed have any cut,” reiterating that, “It must have financial implication.”

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Similarly, he pointed at the areas of pricing on goods and services as a bigger deal which the government has to take seriously, referring to his last encounter with the pioneer national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, who he said had explained the implications in a very graphic way.

Akande said, “The bigger deal is actually in the prices that the government gives or places on goods and services. That is where the main thing is, and while expressing worry over the procurement aspect of government, he referenced Chief Akande, who shared personal experience as a former governor of Osun State while recently fielding questions on another programme of Channels TV, “Inside Sources.”

As he said, “Government wants to build a road, this is the distance of the road. The state government is building the same kind of road for N19 million and the Federal Government’s own costs N84 million. There is a big crisis in the procurement aspect of governance especially at the Federal Government level.”

We have to look at those costs. It is the difference between the real market and the rate at which the government puts prices on those things is too wide. For times like this, those things have to be reviewed downwards,” Akande charged.

He said there have been all kinds of arguments that people have given, as he put it, “All kinds of mumbo jumbo,” but submitted that the time has now come for the government to take action.

“The time has come for the government if we are really serious, we need to look at how we price goods and services that the government pay for. It is a big deal and the President must pay attention to that,” Akande concluded.