General News of Saturday, 28 February 2015
Government has put a freeze on funding for new projects and loans, and has also cut down expenditure on travels by public officials as part of efforts to restrain spending under a possible IMF programme.
The country is required to reduce aggressively public spending under a possible Fund programme, likely to come in April, following the conclusion of talks with IMF staff mission.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM recently, Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, said government is also working to reduce the amount it spends paying public sector workers.
“We are going to require Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prioritise their capital expenditure. For example not necessarily in areas where oil revenues are spent but to curtail the extent of say travel”, he said.
However, Employment Minister, Haruna Idrissu, has assured that there will not be layoffs in the public sector under an IMF programme.
There have been reports that the country will be required to retrench some public sector workers as part of efforts to clean the wage bill.
But Mr Iddrisu says government’s plan is rather to freeze employment and clean the wage bill of ghost names.
“What we have agreed on in terms of the wage bill is to keep it within the budget limits and not to allow for upward adjustments or review of that will undermine our [government] efforts at fiscal consolidation”, said Mr Iddrisu.
Meanwhile, the IMF is optimistic that the proposed 3-year programme would help stabilise the economy in the short term.