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Each time they give me the payroll number, I get so frightened, Tinubu bemoans bloated civil service



President Bola Tinubu expressed concern on Monday about the size of the Federal Civil Service, given the ongoing challenge of generating sufficient revenue to support essential infrastructure and meet salary obligations.

Tinubu raised these concerns during a meeting with Andres Arroyo, the vice-president of the information technology company Oracle, held at the State House. This information comes from a statement released by Ajuri Ngelale, the president’s special assistant on media and publicity.

It’s worth noting that the previous administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, had proposed a substantial budget of N5.33 trillion for civil servant salaries in the 2023 fiscal year. This information was included in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework for 2023-2025, which was prepared by the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

Analysis of the document showed that the amount projected for personnel costs rose from the current N4.33trn approved in the 2022 federal government budget to N5.33trn in 2023.

Speaking on the expenditure on Monday, President Tinubu expressed concern about the country’s “bloated” civil service payroll at the national and sub-national levels, noting that the wage bill consumes a large proportion of the country’s revenue.

“Each time they give me the payroll number, I get so frightened. Where am I going to get the capital to develop the infrastructure we desperately require if the payroll of 1% – 2% of the population is consuming all the revenue?” the statement quoted Tinubu as saying.

He also expressed his readiness to incorporate technology into public service administration.

The president noted that technology helps to ensure that data from public institutions are accurate and transparent as well as aid accountability.

Tinubu’s enthusiasm was spurred by a collaboration between the government of Nigeria and Oracle, seeking to reform the country’s civil service and data management sector.

The president said Oracle’s proven success in the automation of the Lagos payroll system during his tenure as the governor of the state would help to ensure enhanced ease of doing business and digital innovation.

“I have tested Oracle and it has worked for our success. In Lagos State, what we did in effective collaboration with you, has been copied across the states of the Federation,” Tinubu said.

“We can only build our institutions with accurate data and cutting-edge data management capabilities that are reliable and effective. We can only rely upon our human resources for excellent service delivery to Nigerians if they are well-trained and ready to learn.

“The transfer of knowledge is essential for our nation and the continent. In this government, we believe that the only way to build our country is a bottom-up approach and from one single sheet of paper, we can create an end-to-end solution for public administration that will rid our service of its worst tendencies in favour of effectiveness and reliability.”