Government has given a strong hint of a leaner public sector in its 2015 Budget presented by Finance Minister Seth Terkper on Wednesday, November 19.
With public debt standing at 60.8 per cent of GDP at $69.7m, austerity measures were anticipated, and the public sector expenditure was expected to be the chief casualty.
The policy on employment freeze will be continued (excluding the education and health sectors). In addition, the positions of departing public sector employees in “overstaffed” areas will not be filled.
Government will also seek to fully implement the Electronic Salary Payment Voucher (E-SPV) system. The E-SPV was introduced following concerns regarding the high wage bill of public servants, and the commitment by the government to have a robust payroll system that would ensure effective and efficient management of the payroll by eliminating unauthorised payments and payment irregularities.
The budget highlights emphasized that these “expenditure rationalisation measures” will “be vigorously pursued”.
Public sector cuts are anticipated to be among conditionalities accompanying the IMF bail-out.