Federal Government institutions have been directed to use interactive technology for Committees and Boards of government departments and agencies to cut costs.
Under the plan, Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) are to adopt use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for regular interactions by Committees and Boards to reduce costs associated with sitting allowances and meetings.
Engineer Babachir David Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation recently issued a circular directing the implementation of the reduction of meetings by committees and Boards of government departments and agencies to four per year to cut cost in the payment of sitting allowances, urging them to carry out other interactions using ICT.
The reduction of frequency of meetings by such bodies followed a review by the Efficiency Unit of the Ministry of Finance and the discovery that the average annual expenditure on honorarium and sitting allowances between 2012 and 2014 was N12.8 billion.
The Unit found that by 2010, part-time Chairmen of government Committees and Boards were paid sitting allowances ranging from N40, 000 to N150,000 per sitting; while members received payments ranging from N30, 000 to N120, 000 per sitting and the number of sittings has been increased from four to eight yearly.
The Efficiency Unit noted in its recommendation to the Federal Government through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that “while the new allowances per sitting of N40, 000 to N150, 000 and N30, 000 to N120, 000 for Chairmen and Members respectively appear reasonable, the increase in number of meetings from four to eight was rather too high and doubled the cost of sitting allowances for the government.”
The Efficiency Unit further says that “a maximum of four meetings was considered adequate for Boards, while other interactions can be conducted using Information Communication Technology (ICT), which is cheaper and already tested in Nigeria.”
The Unit says it will continue with its on-going efforts and collaboration with the relevant government offices in line with the resolve of Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, to remain committed to her cost-cutting initiative, which is one of the tools for achieving fiscal prudence and releasing of funds for capital projects that will support economic growth and improve the living standard of Nigerians.